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Keep Pig Virus Out of New Zealand

13 November 2007
Keep Pig Virus Out of New Zealand

Relaxing rules on imported pig meat could provide an open pathway for a devastating animal virus to enter New Zealand, said Keith Kelly of Federated Farmers.

Mr Kelly was commenting on the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry saying it had issued new draft health standards for pig meat.

“Farmers, many of whom keep pigs, are concerned that the draft standards are another step toward less controls on imported pig meat, increasing the chance that porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome will arrive in New Zealand,” Mr Kelly said.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome is not currently in New Zealand.

“Some bureaucrats may say that relaxing import rules will allow New Zealand to meet its international trading commitments, but the farming sector sees it as an irresponsible and reckless decision.

“If the rules are relaxed, there is concern about the risk posed to New Zealand’s biosecurity through feeding waste containing uncooked meat to pigs, particularly by non-commercial owners of pigs.

“There are thousands of people who keep pigs in their back yards. Some of these people may feed their pigs scraps of uncooked pig meat containing the virus which, if it spreads, will threaten a successful industry.

“PRRS is a massive problem for pig producers overseas, and we do not want this virus in New Zealand,” Mr Kelly said. Mr Kelly is the chair of the Federation’s meat and fibre industry group.

ends

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