23 Dec 2013

Pork import ruling dismays farmer

8:17 am on 23 December 2013

A Northland pig farmer says the sector's long-running legal battle to try and keep a devastating pig disease out of the country has been for nothing.

On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected the pork industry's legal appeal that was trying to stop the Ministry for Primary Industries allowing in uncooked pork meat from countries that have the disease Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, or PRRS.

For the last 12 years imported pork meat has had to be cooked - which kills off the disease.

Graham Taylor farms 1800 pigs at Maungaturoto in Northland and he says pig farmers attempts to protect their livelihoods have failed.

He says the industry has funded the battle all the way through because it was desperate to protect the pig farming industry.

Mr Taylor says there have been rules in place to prevent the virus getting into the environment but they are now being tossed out which he believes is very short-sighted.

Mr Taylor feels free trade is being put ahead of biosecurity and that the Ministry for Primary Industries believes New Zealand's pig farmers are expendable.

He says the backyard pork industry is a clear weak link when it comes to biosecurity.

However, the ministry says uncooked pork meat was imported for 10 years before 2001 and there was never an outbreak of PRRS.