“The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is setting a disturbing precedent by lowering the bar for imported pork. It is simply unacceptable on biosecurity grounds,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson.
“The unintentional risk of the HIV-like Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS virus) entering New Zealand is too high and the Federation backs New Zealand Pork on this issue.
“New Zealand and Australia are the only two countries on earth free of PRRS. It’s no wonder the pork industry doesn’t want it here, given piglet mortality can peak at 70 percent during the acute phase.
“The New Zealand pig herd could become infected with PRRS if infected imported raw pork was fed to an unregistered pig. This could easily occur on a lifestyle block or in the suburbs.
MAF says the risk of PRRS in consumer-ready products can be managed by the import health standards they’re proposing so is the farmers’ opposition based on facts or fear of competition?
New Zealand apple growers have long complained that Australia’s opposition to our fruit because of the risk of fireblight is really a non-tariff barrier barrier masquerading as a biosecurity threat. Opposition to the new standards for pig meat imports could be regarded as a similar ploy.
We have to be very careful that any opposition we have to the import of goods from other countries is based on science and not just an attempt to reduce competition because the sauce we try to apply to other people’s pork could just as easily be applied to our produce elsewhere.