6 Jul 2009

Fiji Ministry of Agriculture kills bacteria-infected cattle

7:17 pm on 6 July 2009

Fiji's ministry of agriculture says it has slaughtered more than thirty of the 282 cattle infected with the brucellosis bacteria.

The disease causes late term-abortion and infertility in cattle, while it can also lead to fever in humans.

The ministry's veterinarian officer, Robin Achari, says the infected cattle are distributed among 14 farms in North Tailevu, with one suspected case in the south.

Mr Achari says all sick animals have been quarantined and will be killed.

"We're slaughtering, removing all the positive reactors from the farms as soon as possible. We have just managed to slaughter 32 at this point in time; and the meat has been inspected and cleared, if not, then discarded."

Robin Achari says the meat is safe for consumption, but people should stop drinking unpasteurised milk or risk infection.

However, New Zealand's Food Safety Authority senior advisor, Kathleen Shaw, says cooking meat should make it safe to eat, but adds it's not good practice to eat products from any sick animal.