High health status
New Zealand's commercial pig farming industry is internationally recognised for its high-health status.
New Zealand's pig herd is largely disease free compared to many other pork producing countries. This is a big competitive advantage.
Our biggest job at NZPork is working to protect this status from the risk of a disease incursion. Major threats include African swine fever (ASF) as well as other diseases such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), both of which could devastate the industry.
What we do
The sector constantly monitors pig heath and disease outbreaks internationally.
Our commercial pig farmers take stringent measures around movement of animals, people and vehicles. In New Zealand, all movements of animals should be documented using the appropriate Animal Status Declaration forms. There is a specific ASD form for pigs. You can order a book of pig ASD forms by contacting us or you can be set up to do this electronically by going here.
NZPork also advocates for robust biosecurity controls. In 2014, NZPork signed the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) Deed based on a mandate from commercial farmers. This gives the industry a voice in decision-making and requires a commitment to share in resourcing.
We also work closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure there are robust border controls in place and the industry is best prepared in the event of any incursion.
What you can do
Live pigs cannot be imported to New Zealand, but disease could get into our herd through imported meat products.
That is why there are strict regulations that make it illegal to feed pigs waste food containing untreated meat scraps. Part of our role is to ensure that all non-commercial pig farmers, including those who keep them as pets or as part of a lifestyle farm, are kept informed about pig health and the rules around feeding.
In short, don’t feed pigs food waste containing untreated meat or that has been in contact with untreated meat. Full details on treating waste food for pigs are available at mpi.govt.nz
Anyone who notices any unusual symptoms in domestic or wild pigs should report it to their vet or to MPI’s pest and disease hotline on 0800 809966.
Biosecurity advice for visiting pig production units
New Zealand's commercial pork industry is internationally recognised for its high-health status.
New Zealand's pig herd is largely disease free compared to many other pork producing countries.
Commercial farms will have biosecurity requirements in place to prevent the introduction and transmission of disease and may have specific requirements for visitors before they are permitted entry.
Some farms are free from specific diseases endemic to New Zealand and wish to maintain this health status. Breeding companies, for example will have a higher health status than most commercial farms.
How you can help
Visitors to most pig farms will be informed by the farm owner/manager ahead of time as to thespecific biosecurity requirements for their farm. This may include:
- Observing a minimum stand-down period (which is the minimum amount of time that a person must be free from any contact with pigs before visiting)
- Changing into Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on arrival, such as boots, overalls, boot covers, gloves etc. Often this is provided by the farm.
N.B. The stand-down period applies to direct and indirect contact with pigs – e.g., visiting other properties or locations that have pigs, going hunting, visiting saleyards, A&P shows, etc.
Unplanned visits are not advised. Please call ahead to schedule a visit to ensure that you can meet the farm’s biosecurity requirements before arriving on-farm. It is a good idea to have a contact phone number on hand if no one is present when you arrive. Call the number rather than leaving your vehicle and attempting to find someone on-site. This is important for biosecurity and health and safety.
Each farm will have their own biosecurity plan and requirements, which can vary widely between farms. As a rule:
- Ensure no contact with pigs, pig farms, or equipment that has been in contact with pigs or pig farms, for a minimum of 72 hours before visiting. Sometimes this is less, sometimes more - it depends on the farm. Potential visitors should always ask what a farm’s stand-down period is
- Declare all recent pig farm visits, contacts with pigs, abattoir visits etc. to the farm management with exact visiting dates
- Wear clean clothes and shoes that have had no contact with pigs/ pig farms/ equipment etc. as above. There should be no materials (soil, dirt, dust, etc) from a previous farm visit on clothing or footwear
- Your vehicle must be clean, i.e., free from manure (not just pig manure) and other organic material that could be a source of contamination
- If you are sick, don’t come. Some diseases are shared between pigs and humans e.g., flu virus
- Do not bring any pig products onto the farm
- Observe signage and follow instructions, as there may be a specific area designated for visitor parking and visitor entry
- If you have recently returned from overseas, the stand-down period may be longer. This should be specifically mentioned to the farmer to check what their requirements are around persons who have been overseas
- Wear PPE when on farm (usually overalls and gumboots). Check whether the farmer would prefer you to use their own equipment before changing into your own first, as PPE is usually provided by the farm. It might be a good idea to take some newdisposable overalls and boot covers with you in case they don’t have spare footwear/overalls in your size. If you have brought your own gumboots and overalls etc., it must be clean (free from dirt, mud, manure, even if it is not pig manure).
Some farms have very high biosecurity requirements such as ‘shower in/shower out’ entry/exit, meaning that the only way to enter the unit is by showering and changing into clothing that will be provided for you. You will be asked to wash your whole body including hair. You may be asked to remove jewellery, watches, hair accessories etc. If you need to take equipment e.g., a phone, pen and paper, forms, etc. let the farm owner/manager know beforehand to make arrangements if needed.