Pork producers breathed a collective sigh of relief today following an announcement that Australia remains free of the devastating pig disease Post Weaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS).
The announcement was made by Dr Bob Biddle, Australian Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, following the conclusion of an extensive investigation by the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases (CCEAD) into a South Australian pig herd, which found PMWS was not present in the subject herd.
Australian Pork Limited (APL) CEO Andrew Spencer said while the investigation’s result was welcome news for the nation's 2,000 pork producers, the danger presented by imported pig meat to the health status of Australia’s pig herd remained the industry’s primary concern.
“We are extremely relieved Australia remains the only country in the world free of PMWS. If PMWS were to come into this country, it would devastate our industry. We simply could not absorb the increased costs of production ($55 million annually) and lost GDP (estimated at $200 million per annum).
“The problem with PWMS is how much we don’t know about it. We don’t know what causes it, we don’t know how it’s transmitted and we don’t know how to control it.
“With record levels of imported pig meat coming into the country, we are playing with fire given the lack of science.”
Mr Spencer said the CCEAD investigation highlighted the importance of the routine measures adopted by the industry and regulatory authorities designed to maintain the clean, green health status of the Australian pig herd.
APL will be seeking Special Leave from the High Court later this month to appeal against new quarantine protocols for imported pig meat.