Note: This story was first published on Thursday May 24
Warning: Some people may find details in this story disturbing
Some Canterbury farmers are begging the Ministry for Primary Industries not to slaughter their heavily pregnant cows, calling the timing barbaric.
MPI made the order to kill the stock after testing indicated they may be infected with Mycoplasma bovis, but the cull is set to happen on Monday, the same day the government decides whether to continue eradication or manage the disease.
Prebbleton Farmer Lynda Burgess says: "Why would we send something away in the morning and then hear they're managing it. Nobody should be expected to do that."
To make matters even worse, the 90 heifers are less than six weeks from giving birth.
Gary Burgess says "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.”
Lynda says: "I think it’s a disgrace, I don't think even men at the freezing works should be subjected to that, it’s dreadful."
They are pleading for a reprieve from MPI, even if it means just a one day extension, but MPI has told 1 NEWS infected properties will continue to be depopulated until a decision's made.
Lynda says "I just wish New Zealand didn't think they were better than the rest of the world and that they could eradicate it".
Now all they can do is to wait to see if they get a stay of execution.