New Caledonia is fighting an outbreak of tick fever among its cattle after discovering that it was brought into the territory from Australia.
The government has imposed emergency regulations to set up exclusion zones for 17 cattle farms that have been in contact with the 43 bulls imported last November.
Up to 6,000 animals may have to be destroyed to contain the outbreak.
The agriculture minister, Eric Babin, says the Australians should never have let these animals be exported.
The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service had approved the export although under New Caledonian rules the bulls should have been submitted to a chemical drenching treatment.