Taranaki has been officially cleared of the pig disease post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS).
Taranaki Pork Producers chairman Ted Gane of Normanby said the two piggeries in the region placed on restricted movement control by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had been notified they did not have the disease and the restrictions on them had been lifted.
Mr Gane, who told Thursday Farmer six weeks ago that it appeared unlikely Taranaki had PMWS, said it was a big relief to have MAF officially declare the two piggeries free of the disease "not just for them but for the whole industry in Taranaki".
Allen Bryce, of MAF Biosecurity and the co-ordinator of the technical advisory group for the investigation of PMWS, said a review of the situation was completed about a week ago and, as well as the movement controls being removed from the Taranaki piggeries, some Waikato controls were also lifted.
However, controls remain on 18 piggeries – one in Northland, one in Auckland and the rest in Waikato, Mr Bryce said.
Investigations were continuing with regard to a couple of these but MAF was confident the rest had had PMWS and restrictions needed to remain in place.
What happens to these piggeries long-term will depend on what approach the New Zealand Pork Industry Board takes with a proposed pest management strategy it is developing to handle the PMWS problem.
Mr Gane said that at the annual meeting of the New Zealand Pork Industry Board in Auckland last month, pig farmers voted unanimously to support a pest management strategy focusing on containing any spread of the disease.
"The costs of implementing the strategy could extend to unrealistic levels and it may be that the emphasis will be on containing any spread of the disease rather than eradication."