Tim Walker’s Shot

The Government has conceded that New Zealand has ‘one shot’ at eradicating Mycoplasma bovis.

Across the world eradication of this cattle-borne bacterial illness has never been achieved, making New Zealand’s attempt to do it potentially groundbreaking…

I find this scenario oddly reminiscent of the Government’s past (albeit feeble) attempts at pest and predator ‘eradication’ from New Zealand’s native forests; seems those situations were never deemed sufficiently dire to unveil the ‘one shot’ policy.

…Mycoplasma bovis, which threatens a cow’s milk production along with the health of the animal itself, is not actually detrimental to humans; neither milk nor meat from an infected beast will harm people…

For as long as I can recall DOC have been ‘attempting’ to ‘eradicate’ pests and predators from New Zealand’s native forests to no avail; hiring a few rustic trappers with their ‘humane killing systems’ or attempting a half-hearted poison drop to succeed in merely hampering the existence of wildlife – that is before the eco-warriors find out what’s going on and put a stop to proceedings – seems to be all that ever happens around New Zealand’s native bush-sites meaning the pests and predators continue to thrive, ultimately unchallenged.

…Over the next few years 126,000 cattle are expected to be culled from Kiwi farms, with the Government providing affected farmers with a compensation package of $886 million; still this will leave farmers out of pocket by around $278 million, but with the alternative of an estimated $1.2 billion for disease ‘management’ looking no more auspicious…

Over the years the cost to the New Zealand Government of effectively ‘managing’ its unwanted species has been astronomical; if they had settled on the decision all those years ago that the issue of introduced species ravaging our wildlife could be rectified with a ‘one shot’ attack, they could have executed the sweep with precision and dedication, it would have done its thing, then we could have spent the last decade ‘managing’ our native wildlife, rather than the pests therein.

…The likelihood of eradicating a disease such as M Bovis, given nowhere else in the world has managed to do so, is slim; however if the Government use all their resources and over the next two years take every follow-up precaution necessary, it assuredly can be done…

A ‘one shot’ approach to New Zealand’s pest and predator problem, years ago, would have meant that forests had been temporarily devastated and sure, many varieties of wildlife might have perished throughout the process – but so too would have the pests – and surely the wildlife could have been replaced..?

…Imagine a world with no infection, no disease, no pests, no inimical entities of any kind; New Zealand could have (had) just that.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Mai Coh Plazma

Photography by E Raddy/K Shinn



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