Mass Dairy Cull Considered in California

US - A recent outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in Californian dairy herds may lead to a mass cull, and taxpayers will be expected to foot the hefty bill.
calendar icon 9 July 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

Later today, top Agriculture Department officials will tour the affected dairy farms in Fresno and Tulare counties as a prelude to tough decisions on whether to destroy the herds and make multi-million dollar payouts that farmers are still likely to find inadequate, reports McClatchy.

Dairy farmers with herds infected by bovine tuberculosis face several uncomfortable options. They can endure a quarantine until testing proves the herd is clean again, which can take several years. Or, they can destroy the entire herd in exchange for Agriculture Department payments.

The Agriculture Department currently provides farmers that destroy their entire herd with payments of up to $3,000 per animal. The three affected San Joaquin Valley herds have 1,100, 4,800 and 14,000 head of cattle, respectively. That adds up to $59.7 million for the three herds.

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