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Import standards put pork industry at risk

08 April 2009

 

MAF’s pork import standards put domestic industry at risk
 

MAF’s release of provisional import health standards will allow pigmeat containing the PRRS* virus to be widely distributed in New Zealand.  “It puts the New Zealand pork industry and the health and welfare of our pigs at unnecessary risk” says Chris Trengrove, New Zealand Pork chairman. 

PRRS is a devastating pig disease that results in sows aborting and slow and agonising death for piglets.  Though not affecting humans it is rated as the number one disease enemy of the pork industry worldwide.

MAF acknowledges there is a risk.  Yet it proposes to let the infected meat enter New Zealand and attempt to deal with it afterwards.  MAF is playing Russian roulette with our industry.  MAF states that the measures proposed will manage the risk.  They will not.

We have firsthand knowledge of repeated failures of our biosecurity system, including MAF’s failure to ensure compliance and enforcement relating to illegal imports of pork.  Under this scenario, it is not a matter of “if” we will get this devastating disease but rather “when” says Trengrove.  It’s a ticking time-bomb which has started today.

The domestic pork industry contributes over $700 million annually to the New Zealand economy and at a time when that contribution is vital to the wellbeing of our nation, our own agricultural ministry is sawing it off at the knees. 

NZPork will be doing everything possible to stop these import health standards being enacted and will be requesting an independent review of the science as allowed under the Biosecurity Act. 

MAF have continually been marking their own work through this process says Trengrove.  They know there’s been wrong answers but have given themselves the tick anyway. 

Ends

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