Farmers meet with officials over deadly cow disease outbreak in South Canterbury

Farmers met with the Ministry of Primary Industries near Oamaru today as testing for the incurable cattle disease mycoplasma bovis continued in South Canterbury.

So far 150 cows at two Van Leeuwen dairy farms have tested positive for the disease, with neighbouring farms and properties also being tested that may have been received stock.

It is the first time mycoplasma bovis has been found in New Zealand.

Some farmers today called for all the animals on the Van Leeuwan farms to be culled but a vote on where people stood on a widespread cull was called off.

Restrictions remain in place around the Van Leeuwan farms.

MPI says sample testing remains the focus on the 16 farms of the van Leeuwen dairy group, along with neighboring properties, as well as additional farms that may have received stock from the Van Leeuwans.

While the Van Leeuwens weren't at the meeting and haven't responded to an invitation to talk, their designated vet Merlin Hay was at the meeting.

"They're as keen as anyone to get to the bottom of this," he says.

"This is a fairly random thing that happened to us in South Canterbury.

MPI are planning another public meeting next week.

While no risk to humans, the disease has the potential to cause udder infections, pneumonia and arthritis in cows.

Some South Canterbury farmers are calling for the drastic action. Source: 1 NEWS