Iowa Public Television


Hoax or Terrorism? NZ Reacts to Livestock Threat

posted on May 13, 2005

The prime minister of New Zealand this week branded an extortionist's claim to have infected one of the nation's islands with a livestock disease as bioterrorism. Police revealed the extortionist also threatened to release the virus on the mainland.

Officials have not confirmed that any livestock have been infected with the deadly foot-and-mouth disease as alleged and stress that they believe the claims made in a letter this week to Prime Minister Helen Clark are a hoax.

However, they also consider it an emergency that potentially could devastate the country's agriculture-dependent economy. The European Union and Japan already have asked that livestock from the island be blocked from their markets.

Tags: agriculture animals bioterrorism diseases livestock New Zealand news terrorism