From a sheep and beef farming background, Chilton has been an instructor on the Christchurch Men’s Prison farm for about 20 years.
NZ Pork general manager David Baines says the outbreak, if confirmed, is a real concern for the NZ pig industry and the wider agricultural sector, which employs many workers from the Philippines.
He says the big worry for the pig sector is that farm workers from NZ could come in contact with the disease while visiting the Philippines and bring it back to this country.
“NZ’s pig farmers have very strict biosecurity practices, and are extremely careful about when workers and visitors can enter their farms after travel and especially when in contact with other pigs,” Baines said.
“Experienced farm workers from the Philippines play a large, positive role in NZ’s agricultural sector and work NZ-wide. So, we’re asking farmers and their staff to take a close look at the risks -- for example, if workers are travelling home to visit family and may come into contact with backyard pigs -- and take precautions to manage them.”
Baines says the industry is concerned that the disease could enter NZ via contact with infected animals or even on an item of clothing and be transmitted to pigs here.
“We are asking everyone in the community to be vigilant, observe biosecurity protocols and report any suspected signs immediately to MPI.”