[28 May/NZ Herald]

Mycoplasma bovis’ first New Zealand victim, Aad van Leeuwen said overseas dairy rivals were laughing as the Government killed New Zealand’s cows in an overreaction to the discovery of the disease. Reports suggest the potential cost to control the disease would be around $1 billion. Mycoplasma bovis was an animal welfare issue and not a food safety threat as it doesn’t affect milk or meat for human consumption. Federated Farmers said the cull would equate to four cows per herd nationally. Mr Van Leeuwen’s farming operation had lost 1.2 million kilograms of milk solids production plus a milk contract worth $750,000. He emphasised international farmers were happy as their payout would be increased due to decreased NZ milk production. MPI responded by acknowledging he was an experienced farmer, however was not an expert in animal disease or international trade. Seven months ago, his operation lost more than $7 million overnight when MPI ordered his cows killed in response to the first diagnosed outbreak in his South Canterbury farm.