Canterbury farmer's 90 pregnant cows spared from being slaughtered until Tuesday, day after Government decides on M bovis plan

Warning: Some people may find details in this story disturbing 

Ninety heifers owned by Gary Burgess have a one-day reprieve, having been destined for the works on the same day MPI announced a decision on an M bovis plan. Source: 1 NEWS

Prebbleton Farmer Gary Burgess says he received the news this morning, that MPI will delay taking his pregnant cows to the freezing works until Tuesday, the day after the Cabinet announcement on how to proceed.

MPI made the order to kill the stock after testing indicated they may be infected with Mycoplasma bovis. The cull was originally set to happen on Monday.

However, Mr Burgess says he's been told if there are protests or it's made difficult to remove the cows on Tuesday he will be charged under the Animal Welfare Act and won't receive any compensation.

The family has been overwhelmed with support from all round New Zealand since they voiced their emotional concerns about the "barbaric" process last night.

MPI has told 1 NEWS infected properties will continue to be depopulated until a decision's made on Monday.

The Burgess' have 90 heifers less than six weeks from giving birth.

Prior to their reprieve from MPI, the family had spoken about their horror at the potential slaughter of pregnant cows.

Gary and Lynda Burgess say killing the cows on the same day a decision might be made on how to manage the cow disease is barbaric. Source: 1 NEWS

"Once the mothers are killed they get hung up and their bellies are opened up and the calves will fall out into the tray, some of those calves will try and take a breath," Mr Burgess said.

Today Mr Burgess told 1 NEWS that after the family's interview last night,  MPI probably can see the family has attracted a fair bit of public support.

"And it is amazing how many people have contacted us since then. And whether or not we put the wind up them, I don't think so," he said.

"But they just realise now that we are possibly serious at seeing this through, which we are. We are not going to kill these animals aimlessly."

Mr Burgess said he'll have to wait and see what Monday brings and if they turn up on Tuesday to try and take the cows.

Mr Burgess said he has no problem with eradication of infected stock.

"If they come to me and they had a definite test that they could say 'your animals are positive' instead of them being half pie and negative as they are, I would eradicate.

"But if they are wanting to carry on eradicating healthy animals, that's what I have a problem with."