The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) on Thursday announced a relief package for farmers dealing with a catastrophic mouse plague that has destroyed crops and caused havoc in communities.
State Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall told the media that A$50 million ($38 million) in funding will go to farmers dealing with the emergency, reports dpa news agency.
“We are going to provide free chemical poison baits for farmers, primary producers, croppers, to challenge this scourge,” Marshall said, adding that rebates will also be given to small businesses and households for poison and traps purchased.
The Minister said that the state’s government was also seeking approval from the country’s pesticides authority to use bromadiolone, a new poison currently outlawed in Australia, which he said is “the strongest mouse poison you can get on the face of the earth”.
“We haven’t seen a plague on this scale really since the early 80s, and everyone was hoping that the cool conditions in winter would actually see their numbers dented. Nothing so far has worked,” Marshall said.
The plague of rodents has been running wild for months, with people bitten and crops decimated.
As of late April, NSW Health had been notified of 23 cases of leptospirosis, a rare disease which can cause kidney failure and meningitis which is commonly passed on by mice, since the beginning of the year, compared to 11 in 2020, Australian news wire AAP reported.