Some farmers feel they are being unfairly blamed for the spread of Mycoplasma bovis.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has admitted they don't know how some of our farms got the devastating disease.

It blames a lax adherence to the NAIT animal tracking system.

The ministry has confirmed that 143 farms are contaminated or have been cleared of cattle disease and about 87,000 animals have been culled to date, with $54 million in claims paid to farmers.


Frank Peters is an Ashburton farmer who has felt the effects of M.bovis. He told Kate Hawkesby he feels like farmers are shouldering the blame.

Listen to Kate Hawkesby's interview with Frank Peters in the Newstalk ZB Early Edition audio below:

"At the end of the day, it's the farmers who get blamed. As farmers, we feel like we get the blame for everything. Nobody even knows where this disease actually came from, so how can you turn around and point the finger at us?

Peters says that there is no clear, hard evidence which makes trying to contain and properly manage the situation extremely difficult.

"How can you say its a single point of entry when we don't know how the farm got it. The science and DNA is saying all sorts of things, but nobody has come to us saying these animals which have come to your farm are where the disease has come from."

In a phased eradication costing $886 million, the Government has ordered the cull of about 150,000 cattle in an attempt to rid the country of the bacterial disease which can cause untreatable mastitis, abortion and arthritis in cows.