Following the discovery of traces of deadly foot and mouth disease in pork products at the Australian border, Eric Roy - chairman of NZ pork, pronounced that any tourist found with food which risks the biosecurity of New Zealand should be sent home right away.
He said sending such tourists home will send a clear message to other tourists that the country's border is of great importance and will not be messed with under any circumstances. He explained that the government has to ensure the border is not compromised for tourism gains.
Ministry of primary industries revealed that the economic cost of letting foot and mouth disease enter the border is very high - $14.4 billion in export losses, about $1.17bn in eradication expenses and also approximately $30.8 million in compensation for infected livestock.
Zero-tolerance policy for Undeclared Plant and Animal
Above 10 million cattle and ship were killed in Britain in 2001 when foot and mouth disease hit the country. The killings were done in an attempt to stop further spread of the disease, and the public was stopped from accessing certain public areas which had a negative effect on tourism. The total cost of the outbreak in the UK was estimated to be $15.8bn.
Late last year, fear that certain products might contain African swine fever - a disease affecting parts of Asia and Europe - led to an expansive screening of products. The screening revealed that 5% of the products have said to infection.
The 5% infection level rose to 15% following the second round of tests conducted lately.
Therefore, David Littleproud, Australian Minister for Agriculture, said a zero-tolerance policy should be put in place for all travelers carrying undeclared plant and animal material. He suggested fines, entry refusal as well as criminal prosecution for such travelers.
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