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Industry Concerned about Imported Disease

by 5m Editor
13 April 2011, at 10:27am

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand Pork is deeply concerned about new Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF) standards issued today (13 April 2011) that relax biosecurity around imported pork.

New Zealand Pork says that not only could the lower standards undo the historic welfare code embraced by the industry in December, but also weaken New Zealand's biosecurity for the whole agricultural sector, according to Scoop.

The proposed relaxing of biosecurity standards could allow the exotic disease Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) to enter New Zealand and infect local pigs – impacting the pig welfare transformation already underway throughout the country.

Pork imported to New Zealand from countries with PRRS must currently undergo treatment to deactivate the disease. Under the new proposals this requirement would be eliminated. This opens the door for transmission of the disease.

New Zealand Pork CEO, Sam McIvor, says: "New Zealand pork producers have committed to world-leading animal welfare standards and are extremely concerned about the risks from the proposed relaxing of biosecurity standards around imported pork.

"It just doesn't make sense to introduce pig welfare standards on one hand while putting them at risk of this imported, highly distressing disease on the other.

"Like many others in the economy our pork producers are doing it tough at present. The changes farmers are making do come at a cost. The last thing they need is to be undermined by the potential for new and exotic diseases introduced as a result of short-sighted legislation," he said.

Mr McIvor says the new MAF biosecurity standards would put New Zealand's overall biosecurity in jeopardy.

"There is real concern within the primary production sector about the precedent this sets for an increase in risk to New Zealand's biosecurity generally. The value of New Zealand's exports in world markets is due in large part to our world-class healthy production base. This message has been reinforced by industry in its submissions on the Biosecurity Law Reform Bill currently before Parliament.

"New Zealanders are concerned about animal welfare – why put this at risk?" Mr McIvor said, according to Scoop.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on porcine reproductive respiratory syndrome (PRRS) by clicking here.