MPs stop Q-fever cull of male goats and sheep

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A motion has been put forward in the Dutch Lower House to reverse a decision by Health Minister Ab Klink and Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg to have all rams and billy goats on dairy farms infected with Q-fever destroyed.


Since male sheep and goats can also carry the bacteria, they may infect females during mating. As it is difficult to distinguish between sick and healthy animals, the health and agriculture ministers had opted to cull the males rather than take the risk.


But MPs said the measure was too drastic and have proposed that the animals be first tested individually. Minister Verburg is against the motion, but has said she will await the outcome of next week's parliamentary vote on the issue.


There are 64 sheep and goat dairy farms in the Netherlands infected with Q-fever, but most of the farmers keep only a few males.


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