Pork farmers are on the edges of their seats following the detection of African swine flu (ASF) in Australian airports. Pork products that passengers were attempting to bring into Australia illegally were found as well as contaminated products in the mail.
The disease has swept through areas of Europe and Asia and is devastating to pig populations. In China, nearly 1 million pigs have been killed in order to stop the spread of disease. In addition, France has begun killing pigs on its Belgium border after an infected boar was detected. Although pork from infected pigs is not harmful to humans, there is still cause for concern.
The New Zealand pork industry is worth around $750 million a year, even though numbers have dropped by almost 100,000 pigs from 2004 to 2018. NZ Pork Chairman Eric Roy said, “In light of the detection of ASF at the Australian border, we’re asking the minister to provide assurance that our border measures are as strong as possible to prevent entry of this deadly pig disease that would harm our industry.” Authorities are continuing to monitor the situation closely.