NZ: pig farmers in protest
New Zealand pig farmers want the government to maintain existing border controls to keep untreated pork from entering the country.
Since 2001, uncooked pig meat has been restricted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), due to concerns over the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus.
According to Chris Trengrove, chairman of the pork industry board, some countries with endemic PRRS complained about the requests for their meat to be quarantined and cooked before it is to enter the market. They have called it ‘unfair trade’.
MAF has been looking into lessening the regulations, and has reported that risks would be minimal. Although Trengrove said that relaxing the regulations could prove to be ‘potentially dangerous’. He added that average pig meat consumption has increased, as well as imports, which raised concern over the government’s intentions to relax requirements.
“At the moment we do have some protection through the transitional facilities which allow pork to be treated through the existing Import Health Standard, and to further relax this protection seems total madness,” Trengrove said.
The Pork Industry Board spent ‘a small fortune’ gathering strong technical and scientific evidence which showed the risks of untreated pork entering the country from countries where the PRRS virus was endemic.
Trengrove also noted, “Biosecurity New Zealand reviewed the submissions and we were dismayed to learn that they intend to proceed and alter the import health standard to allow imported pork into this country that puts the viability of our industry at risk.”