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MAF lets in wolf, loses more than 3 little pigs

MAF lets in wolf, loses more than three little pigs

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) announced today that the porcine infection post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), discovered in September, was unable to be contained. MAF was concentrating its efforts on preventing spread to the South Island.

Green MP Ian Ewen-Street said the announcement by MAF meant the Ministry effectively was "throwing its hands up in the air and saying 'too hard'.

"MAF has given up too early, PMWS is going to have a significant detrimental on individual pig farmers and every effort needs to be made to eradicate this disease," said Biosecurity Spokesperson Mr Ewen-Street.

MAF director of animal biosecurity Derek Belton said this morning that: "This is a technical decision, not a commercial one, we don't have the tools to deal with it ... We don't know how PMWS gets into the pig population and there is no test to show if pigs will develop it."

This admission shows there are alarming holes in MAF's armoury in the battle against biohazards, said Mr. Ewen-Street. "MAF needs more tools, and more research on how PMWS spreads, and an effective test to identify carriers. Limiting the movement of animals to the region they are raised in would also increase the chance of containment. At the very least we need to know how and when PWMS came into the country."

The decision on PMWS is similar to that made last year to simply accept the spread of the varroa bee mite as inevitable, said Mr Ewen-Street. "Beekeepers are justifiably still bitter about that refusal to fight, and MAF should have learnt from the experience.

"Much more needs to be done to stop these sorts of threats at source, instead of just giving up."

"Surely it is much better to try and fail, than not to try at all - biosecurity regimes need to be built with more than straw or sticks."

ENDS

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