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4 February 2004
A meeting of the advisory group on Post-weaning multi-systemic wasting
syndrome (PMWS) has concluded that an unknown virus may be the cause of the pig
Derek Belton, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Director Animal
Biosecurity says that it is still unclear what causes PMWS but a view that is
gaining momentum from overseas research is that the disease may be caused by an
"In light of this, MAF supports a holding strategy while further
investigations are undertaken and the Pork Industry Board develops a pest
"The Pork Industry Board presented a draft strategy at a meeting of the
PMWS technical advisory group on Monday based on the assumption that this
disease is caused by an as yet unknown agent.
"While there is certainly some plausibility to this hypothesis, the
Board has considerable work to do on its proposed strategy before this will be
approved by MAF," Mr Belton says.
It has been proposed that PMWS entered New Zealand via uncooked imported pig
meat which was then fed to pigs. Feeding pig meat to pigs is contrary to the
industry code of practice and will be further reinforced by regulations this
Fifteen farms in the North Island have been quarantined as a result of
finding evidence of the virus in weaner pigs. There is no evidence to suggest at
this point that PMWS has spread to the South Island. MAF become involved in the
investigation in September last year after weaner pigs failed to respond to farm
management practices and veterinary care.
Under the Biosecurity Act 1993, affected farmers are entitled to apply for
Movement restrictions on live pigs, semen, eggs and embryos between the North
and South Islands will remain in place unless a valid permit is provided.
For more information contact:
Philippa White Senior Communications Adviser
04 498 9948 or 027 223 1975