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Flawed Pig Meat Import Standards Must be Dropped

by 5m Editor
11 May 2012, at 7:55am

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand First is calling on the Government to drop changes to pig meat import standards because of the risk of spreading a highly infectious disease amongst pigs.

New Zealand First leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says the new standards permit imports of untreated pig meat from countries infected by the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus.

“The New Zealand Pork industry holds serious concerns that PRRS will enter the country under these new import standards.

“It will greatly increase the risk of infected meat being fed to pigs, which is how the virus is transmitted.

“If lax import standards allow the virus into New Zealand then it could spread with alarming speed through farmed and wild pig populations.

“The financial impact on pig farmers and associated businesses could be massive.“

Mr Peters says animal experts liken the highly infectious PRRS to HIV in humans. It can cause stillborn foetuses, abortion or respiratory sickness among pigs.

“A 2004 PRRS outbreak in South Africa was blamed on infected meat being fed to pigs. Thousands of animals had to be killed.

“We are one of only a few countries in the world to be PRRS-free and we need to keep it that way.

“PRRS threatens the New Zealand pork industry in the same way the varroa mite affects bees and Psa devastates kiwifruit.

“The Government must intervene and stop the introduction of these defective standards to safeguard the pork industry and our wild pig populations,“ says Mr Peters.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

- Find out more information on PRRS by clicking here.