WELLINGTON, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Nearly two weeks after the decision to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis in New Zealand, the program is "making good progress," Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said on Friday.
"An overwhelming majority of farmers support the eradication objective while accepting it's a big challenge," O'Connor said in a statement, adding that the number of farms under regulatory control has been reduced from 300 to about 200, though this is likely to change as the response progresses.
The reduction is mainly due to farms under Notice of Direction being tested, cleared and allowed to get on with business as usual, O'Connor said.
The culling of some 24,500 animals on 28 of those infected properties has been completed, allowing them to go into the disinfection stage.
"Phased eradication is in its early stages and we fully expect to uncover more suspicious or infected properties over coming months," the minister said, adding that moving to phased eradication has allowed the government to work with industry partners to bring more resource into the response to directly support farmers.
In total, 250 people with practical farming experience are working with farmers under regulatory control.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has received 139 claims to date, with the assessed value at 9.3 million NZ dollars (6.5 million U.S. dollars), while 7.6 million NZ dollars (5.3 million U.S. dollars) has been paid, he said.