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MAF makes a meal of pig wasting disease

9 February, 2004

MAF makes a meal of pig wasting disease

Green MP Sue Kedgley today called for an immediate ban on the feeding of pig meat to pigs, following evidence that the practice was likely to have been responsible for the outbreak of post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PWMS).

Ms Kedgley, the Green spokesperson for Safe Food and Consumer Affairs, said consumers would be repelled by the thought of animals being fed the remains of their own kind, especially as it has been implicated in major health scares such as Mad Cow Disease.

"The feeding of pig meat to pigs, chicken meat to chickens and beef products back to cows is a cannibalistic practice that must be made illegal in New Zealand," said Ms Kedgley.

"It is frankly astonishing that it is not already illegal in New Zealand, given its connection to Mad Cow disease, and the fact that this practice is banned in many other parts of the world.

"While the pig industry has a voluntary industry code of practise in place, which advises farmers not to feed pig meat to pigs, this voluntary code has no force in law, provides no guarantee against breaches and simply cannot be relied upon for public safety," she said.

Ms Kedgley also called on MAF to re-introduce regulations requiring pigswill to be boiled for a specified time to kill infectious organisms.

"MAF discontinued regulations around pigswill a few years ago on the grounds that the regulations were too costly to implement," Ms Kedgley said. "Ironically, the advent of this disease will cost farmers more than would have been spent on proper enforcement."

ENDS

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