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5 October 1999
Rare Auckland Island pigs will remain in quarantine in Invercargill until the Ministry
of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Rare Breeds Conservation Society finalise a plan
that will allow them to be released while managing any potential disease risks.
The details are still being worked out, and MAF will consult interested stakeholders
such as the New Zealand pork industry, Department of Conservation (DoC), and the Ministry
of Health before giving approval.
In January this year, the Rare Breeds Conservation Society moved 17 pigs from the
Auckland Islands to mainland New Zealand under a disease risk management regime developed
The pigs were moved off the island in order to preserve the breed, so DoC could restore
the islands to their pristine natural state.
MAF consulted interested stakeholders last December during the development of the
proposal, which presented challenges because of the lack of information on the health
status of the pigs.
Although isolated on the Auckland Island from other pigs for over 100 years, the risks
identified included their unknown original health status, and the other potential pathways
for disease introduction into the population, such as humans taking food to the islands,
or infection from other animals.
The pigs were placed in quarantine upon arrival in Invercargill and subjected to an
agreed testing and treatment regime for a number of diseases. Tests results indicated the
population may be infected with trichinella and salmonella. These diseases are identified
by the New Zealand pork industry as a threat.
MAF and the Rare Breeds Conservation Society are therefore currently working through
plans that will allow the breed to be preserved without endangering the health status of
the pork industry. Neither disease is likely to transmit vertically (i.e. from boar or sow
to piglet prior to birth), and so progeny of the quarantined pigs would be able to be
The pigs will remain in quarantine until plans are finalised
Matthew Stone, Animal Biosecurity, MAF Biosecurity Authority: N/A84
Michael Willis, Rare Breeds Conservation Society: 03-359-6226
Brian Milne: New Zealand Pork Industry Board: 04-385-4229