Pork Industry stops raw imports

June 13, 2013

The Pork Industry Board has managed to get biosecurity clearance for raw pork revoked until the appeal in the Supreme Court is determined:

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW ZEALAND
SC 36/2013
[2013] NZSC 58

BETWEEN THE NEW ZEALAND PORK INDUSTRY BOARD
Appellant
AND THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE MINISTRY FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES
First Respondent
AND THE CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER AND BIOSECURITY NEW ZEALAND
Second Respondents

[...]

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT

The order made on 31 May 2013 is revoked and in its place there is an order as follows:

The Ministry for Primary Industries, and any inspector acting on its behalf, is restrained from granting biosecurity clearances under ss 26–28 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 for any consumer ready cuts of raw pork product that may now be imported as a result of the Director-General’s decision to issue the following new import health standards:

• Import Health Standard for Pig Meat and Pig Meat Products for Human Consumption from the European Union, MEAPORIC.EU dated 18 March 2011 (with the exception of products from Sweden and Finland).

• Import Health Standard for Pig Meat and Pig Meat Products for Human Consumption from the Sonora State of Mexico, MEAPORIC.MEX dated 18 March 2011.
• Import Health Standard for Pig Meat and Pig Meat Products for Human Consumption from Canada and/or the United States of America, MEAPORIC.NAM dated 18 March 2011.

This order remains in force pending determination of the present appeal or further order of the Court.

The board has been fighting the imports on the grounds that the risk of importing disease which could threaten locally raised pigs is too great.


Rural round-up

April 29, 2013

Hydatids rule changes proposed:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is proposing changes to controls covering a disease that has not been seen in New Zealand since the 1990s.

Hydatids can infect humans, sheep and other animals, and is contracted from dogs which carry the hydatid tapeworm.

The disease killed more than 140 people in a decade between 1946 – 1956. Many more people had to have surgery to remove hydatids cysts.

After about 50 years of control efforts, including regular dog dosing, the Ministry of Agriculture declared New Zealand to be provisionally free of hydatids in 2002.

But regulations have remained in place aimed at preventing any future outbreaks. . .

Farmers back tradeable killing rights, says Beef + Lamb:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s chairman says he’s had strong farmer feed-back supporting tradable slaughter rights as one way of helping to rationalise the processing end of the meat industry.

Mike Petersen says the concept was first suggested in a consultants’ report 28 years ago, but never picked up.

He thinks it could be a circuit breaker to unlock the challenges of getting farmers and privately owned meat companies to work together.

Mr Petersen says a share of the kill would have to be allocated to each company, and from a set point in time companies would have the right to slaughter that percentage on an annual basis.

He says regular updates on the size of the kill would be needed. . .

Meat firms working on simple plan -

Meat companies are working together on a plan to rationalise the processing industry and the two big co-ops are willing to work with the Meat Industry Excellence group, farmers at a packed meeting in Feilding on Friday were told.

The co-ops and up to 700 farmers endorsed the MIE group’s aims and put forward John McCarthy, Steve Wyn-Harris and Tom O’Sullivan to represent North Island farmers on the group executive.

Alliance chairman Owen Poole said the industry was putting effort into an improved model and a decision on whether it would go ahead could be expected within two months. . . .

North Island farmers back calls for meat industry reform:

North Island farmers are planning further meetings to keep the pressure on for meat industry restructuring.

An estimated 600 to 700 farmers met in Feilding on Friday, to support the Meat Industry Excellence Group campaign launched in the South Island last month.

It has a five step plan to overhaul the red meat sector to improve profitability for companies and farmers through more co-ordinated processing and marketing.

Spokesman John McCarthy says there’s a strong commitment from farmers to see meat industry reforms through this time, but it is important to take things one step at a time. . .

Federated Farmers feed operation may be approaching an end:

The Federated Farmers Grain & Seed led feed operation, which will have shipped some 220,000 small bale equivalents from the South Island, may soon be approaching an end. With demand beginning to slow, Federated Farmers is concerned some farmers may be over-estimating pasture recovery following rain.

“Federated Farmers Grain & Seed can rightly be proud of the contribution our members have made in helping our North Island colleagues out,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed Vice-Chairperson.

“With winter upon us demand for feed is slowing right up and we don’t understand why. . .

A Beekeeper’s Story:

When he was just a young lad, Bill Bennett built his first bee hive from scrap wood.

Thus a lifelong passion for producing the best quality Manuka honey had its beginnings.

From its humble beginnings, SummerGlow Apiaries has blossomed to over 1600 hives, setting the standards for Manuka Honey production.

Bill and Margaret Bennett have been beekeeping for over 36 years in the greater Waikato area.

Summerglow Apiaries specialises in the production of high activity UMF Manuka Honey.

Back in the early days of SummerGlow, Bill and Margaret used to make their own bee hives. . .

Queenstown Biking Community ‘thrilled’ with New Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort:

Queenstown’s Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort got the thumbs up at the soft launch yesterday when members of the local biking community got to check out the newly-constructed trails.
 
Some last minute rain ensured the trails were ‘bedded in’ and locals of all ages and experiences took to the trails with vigour.
 
From experienced downhill bikers to families with children, everyone enjoyed the opportunity to test trails including the beginner ‘Bunny’ trail and intermediate Donnas Dually track.
 
The invitation-only event saw bikers, bike shop owners and front line staff experience the resort for the first time. Rabbit Ridge is a joint venture by local bike business Around the Basin and Gibbston Valley Winery and will be the area’s only year-round dedicated and serviced bike resort. . . .

Canada farm persecuted by gov., thankful for help: Tiffany’s non-blog:

For some background:

Apparently I am farmed and dangerous…

But I am not a criminal. I’m a shepherd, farmer and writer who has been preserving rare Shropshire sheep for the last 12 years, and farming various other heritage breeds and vegetables for the last 30.

Then the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) killed my beautiful ewes and their unborn lambs to find out if they were healthy. They were.

They were also rare and pregnant. Now they are dead. . .

There are always at least two sides to a story and a Google search led me to several others including these two:

Sheep flock is both rare and slated for slaughter – Suzanne Atkinson:

A Hastings’ woman’s desperate attempt to save her rare Shropshire sheep from the CFIA’s axe is ballooning into a fundraising and full scale social media campaign.

Montana Jones, whose flock of 44 Shropshires represents approximately 25 percent of the country’s inventory of the breed, is facing the decimation of her flock after Scrapies was found in a sheep which originated in her herd more than five years ago. While her entire herd has tested negative – a test considered 85 per cent accurate, the 44 animals have also been genotyped QQ and are considered less resistant to the disease.
While Scrapies is not a human health risk, it can affect the productivity of sheep and CFIA is mandated to eradicate it within Canada to enhance trade opportunities. . .
Rare sheep on death row – Alyshah Hasham:

Montana Jones loves her Shropshire sheep.

She raises the rare heritage breed at no profit in a bid to protect the bloodlines tracing back to some of the first sheep on Canadian shores.

But the fluffy romance of 12 years has become a nightmare, with more than half of her flock of 75 slated for the chopping block for no reason, says the farmer.

Her Wholearth Farm in Hastings, near Peterborough, was put under quarantine and listed as a possible source of infection after a ewe she sold to an Alberta farmer five years ago was diagnosed with scrapie. . .

How endangered are Shropshire sheep? – Agrodiversity  Weblog:

You may have seen stories in the past week or so of a flock of Shropshire sheep that authorities in Canada have threatened with destruction. The sheep belong to Montana Jones, who raises them at her Wholearth Farm, near Hastings in Peterborough. Five years ago she sold a ewe to a farmer in Alberta, and that sheep has been diagnosed with scrapie. As a result, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency wants to destroy other animals from the same flock who are infected or suspected of being infected.

One problem for Montana Jones is that the test “is only about 85% accurate”. So the sheep that tested positive may not have scrapie, although I have no idea what that 85% figure actually means. False positives? False negatives? What?

It is a long time since I last had to get my ahead around scrapie, the risks to humans (it is not “mad sheep disease”), the different breed susceptibilities, and the different approaches to eradication. All of those are important issues, I am sure. What concerns me about Montana Jones’ case is whether the appeal to the rarity of Shropshire sheep justifies not taking the precaution of slaughtering some of the flock. . .


No excuses

February 9, 2013

An appeal by the Ministry of Primary Industries has resulted in a prison sentence for a farmer charged with animal welfare abuses.

. . . Lourens Barend Erasmus was sentenced to two years and one month imprisonment. Justice Priestly described his offending as “wilful, intentional and repetitive”, he deferred the start of the jail term until Monday and bailed Erasmus to his Pastor’s Waihi home.

Waikato/ Bay of Plenty District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen said Erasmus’ offending was the worst type of animal welfare cruelty dealt with in his district, and likely nationally through the courts.

The MPI investigation found that he had been breaking his cows tails (115 of the 135 cow herd) hitting them on the hind legs with a stainless steel pipe and stainless still milking cups at the milking shed. Brendon Mikkelsen said “The MPI inspection in late February 2012 revealed serious animal welfare issues, with cows on the property showing obvious signs of injuries and severe distress”.

“This sentencing reflects the view of MPI, industry and the Courts that any animal welfare abuse is unacceptable. MPI believes the sentencing reflects the seriousness of the offending and sends a strong message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Persons in charge of animals have an obligation to the welfare of those animals, and the vast majority of persons in charge of animals on farms and the industry take their obligations very seriously.

MPI’s Animal Welfare team cannot be everywhere so it is vital that farmers, the industry, associated on-farm service providers and the public maintain vigilance and report animal welfare breaches on our hot line 0800 00 83 33. Calls can be treated in confidence if necessary. MPI and industry will continue to work together to help ensure this type of incident does not occur in the future.

There are no excuses for abusing animals.

The MPI was correct to appeal an earlier, lesser sentence of home detention and the court is correct to treat this as a very serious offence.


GFC far from over

September 6, 2012

It hasn’t been a week for good news in provincial New Zealand.

Solid Energy has suspended workers at its Spring Creek mine on the West Coast, threatening the jobs of 250 staff and 130 contractors which will have a flow on impacts on the wider community.

Then New Zealand Aluminium Smelters announced it’s accelerating plans to axe 100 jobs from its Bluff smelter as depressed global metal prices continue to challenge the aluminium sector worldwide.

And yesterday tests confirmed that the kiwifruit vine killing disease Psa has been found in a Coromandel orchard.

It’s only a single orchard but the ease with which the disease spreads will be causing justifiable concern in the area and the industry.

The disease has devastated orchards further north and that in turn has hit packing houses, job opportunities and the wider community.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is making good progress in implementing the recommendations of the recent independent review of imports of kiwifruit plant material.

This will go a long way to ensuring a similar incursion doesn’t happen again.

But that will be of little if any comfort to the people whose jobs, livelihoods, businesses and retirement plans have been affected so badly by the disease.

All in all provincial New Zealand could be excused for feeling a bit gloomy and it’s all due to circumstances beyond local control. The GFC is not over and won’t be for some time.

Thank goodness the milk price increased in yesterday’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

The country – in both the rural and national senses of the word – really needs something to give us some optimism.


MAF shortcomings, MPI responds

July 5, 2012

The independent report into the Psa incursion which has had such a devastating affect on kiwifruit orchards has  found shortcomings in systems and processes of what was then the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

It is up to what is now the Ministry of Primary Industry to respond swiftly and Director-General Wayne McNee has:

“The review has found shortcomings in the way MPI’s (then MAF) systems and processes were applied to the importation of kiwifruit, kiwifruit pollen, kiwifruit nursery stock, kiwifruit seeds and horticultural equipment, prior to the Psa outbreak.

“While the review also says that it does not automatically follow that these shortcomings contributed to the entry of Psa-V into New Zealand, improvements are needed, and MPI is moving immediately to implement those improvements,” Mr McNee said.

“The Ministry will implement all six recommendations from the review and will report to the Minister for Primary Industries in three months time on progress.”

Mr McNee said the review had found that although the biosecurity risks associated with the importing of goods could never be entirely mitigated, protections could be improved by MPI, industry and Crown Research Institutes working more closely to understand emerging risks.

Federated Farmers calls the report a robust but positive wake-up call.

Federated Farmers is convinced the independent and robust Sapere Research Group review into the entry of Psa will lead to significant improvements at the border.

“The old MAF was so confident in its import health standard for pollen, it said there was no peer-reviewed scientific evidence pollen was a pathway for bacteria,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President and spokesperson on biosecurity

“That contrasts strongly with the independent Sapere Research Group review of how Psa entered New Zealand. This review provides policy makers with a model for independently conducted post-border incursion investigations.

“The Sapere review cuts to the chase.  We can give credit to the new Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for opening itself up to soul searching analysis.  That said, it comes against a $410 million backdrop; the projected cost of this biosecurity failure.

“Even in tough economic times, Federated Farmers believes there should be more resources for biosecurity than just reprioritising current ones.

“We need biosecurity to be robust because it is our first and last line of environmental and economic defence.  Any homeowner knows scrimping on insurance is a false economy when you need to claim against it.  Incursions like Psa not only cost export revenue but jobs too.

“Biosecurity is a tangible feature driving our overall reputation as an exporter and as a destination.  Tourism is a risk vector, but benefits from high levels of biosecurity being maintained. We suggest passenger and cargo levies could be used to build a response fund.

“While the report doesn’t mention it, we also need robust systems to identify emerging disease threats and developments.

“Government Industry Agreements are an opportunity for the MPI to integrate information and improve communication with industry.  Yet the primary industries shouldn’t just leave biosecurity to government as ‘its job’.  We are pleased this report confirms recent moves by the MPI to give farmers a greater say on border protection.

“One practical example of what Federated Farmers wants to see reinstated is the Animal and Plant Biosecurity Consultative Committees.  Disbanded under the old MAF, they provided a valuable exchange of information between industry and the Ministry.

“We believe the MPI now has a golden opportunity to integrate them within Government Industry Agreement frameworks,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

The Psa, incursion has been to the kiwifruit industry what foot and mouth disease could be for livestock farming.

Whole orchards have been infected, businesses – and retirement plans – destroyed and millions of dollars lost from the local and national economy.

The response to the incursion was swift but that is no comfort for those whose vines were infected.

It might not have been shortcomings in MAF procedures which allowed the importation of the infection but MPI isn’t making excuses and is implementing all six recommendations in the report.

Every traveller and import could potentially carry something that poses a risk to our plants and livestock. It is impossible to have 100% protection against that but the adoption by MPI  of the recommendations should ensure an improvement in bio-security at our borders.

MPI’s response and action plan is here.


Whatever it takes

May 12, 2012

Federated Farmers is urging the Ministry of Primary Industries to do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat of Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni).

Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President and biosecurity spokesperson said:

“If action is needed we need to be quick and decisive about it.  This is truly a serious threat to horticulture and we’ve simply got too much to lose.

“Once we get on top of this incursion, there needs to a closer look at passenger entry at the border.  The risk is less from cargo and more from the millions who enter New Zealand each year. . . “

New Zealand and Australia have the strictest biosecurity controls I’ve encountered but no system is foolproof.

I’m always very careful about what I take from one country to another but once inadvertently brought an insect home from Argentina.

I’d wrapped wine bottles in bubble wrap on the floor before we left and when unwrapping them saw an insect crawl out. My daughter cut it in half with scissors and then I burned it.

No harm was done on this occasion but it has made me even more vigilant when I travel.

Not everyone takes biosecurity concerns  seriously, many don’t realise the danger posed by incursions. However, no matter how alert travellers are and how strict the screening is, the risk of breeches are ever present.

 


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