Advanced Search | Help
19 November 2003
At this point, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), does not
believe it is possible to eradicate post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome
This statement from Derek Belton, Director Animal Biosecurity follows two
months of a MAF investigation into the possible spread and cause of the syndrome
confirmed on a Waikato piggery. During the investigation 15 farms were visited
and two other suspect cases are being followed up.
"This has been an extremely difficult investigation because of the lack
of knowledge of what causes the disease, how it could have arisen in New Zealand
and its association with two pig viruses already well established here."
"Attempts to destroy PMWS in other parts of the world through slaughter
of affected pig herds have failed. No country in the world is adopting either a
regional or national program of depopulation of affected piggeries to either
manage or control the disease, in fact options of depopulation have been looked
at and rejected," he said.
In light of MAF's decision, the Pork Industry Board is considering containing
the disease through slaughtering affected herds. The cost of depopulation will
be borne by the pork industry.
Should this be the case, Mr Belton said that MAF would support the initiative
by imposing movement controls of pigs and pig semen between the North and the
South Island while an investigation is underway to see whether the South Island
is free of PMWS.
Mr Belton said that standard on-farm biosecurity measures such as reducing
contact between pigs and other animals, ensuring a 24 hour stand down period
between vehicles and people moving between farms unless they are cleaned and
disinfected, will, amongst others, help protect against the introduction of
Mr Belton is clear that there is still more work to do in understanding the
complexity of this syndrome and welcomes proposals from the research community
to evaluate new ways to manage and preferably eradicate PMWS from New Zealand.
Over the last week Mr Belton has attended meetings with pig farmers outlining
the reason for MAF's decision.
For further information: MAF Senior Communications Adviser, Philippa
White, 04 498 9948 or 027 223 1875 CEO Pork Industry Board Angus Davidson, 04
917 4754 or 029 438 8222