MAF waits for pest management strategy from pork board

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 disease.

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 exotic virus.

"In light of this, MAF supports a holding strategy while further investigations are undertaken and the Pork Industry Board develops a pest management strategy.

"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 year.

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 compensation.

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



Last Updated: 28 September 2010

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