What the TBfree New Zealand programme means for pig hunters
Wild pigs are not controlled as part of the bovine TB programme, but are valuable in determining if the disease is present in other wild animals in an area, such as possums and ferrets. As you are aware, wild pigs scavenge on rotting carcasses and, if the carcass is infected with TB, it is highly likely the wild pig will contract the disease.
- In many areas, pig hunters and hunting clubs work closely with the TBfree New Zealand programme and supply pig heads as part of a TB survey programme.
- Wild pigs can play a part in the cycle of TB among wild animal populations when infected pig heads, or discarded offal, is dumped and then scavenged by possums and ferrets. This may in turn infect the scavenging animal with TB, which can
- then pass the disease to farmed cattle and deer.
- It is of particular concern to the TBfree New Zealand programme if the infected pig head or offal is transported out of the area where it was captured. The best thing to do is leave the head and offal where you captured the animal, or if you do transport the animal intact, please dispose of the head in a covered offal pit, or bury it deep enough so that other animals cannot gain access to the remains.
- Do not release pigs into the wild – it is illegal and they have the potential to set up new areas of infection in areas that are otherwise “clear” of the disease.
How to identify bovine TB in pigs
- Bovine TB lesions can usually be found at the base of a pig’s jaw bone, or within its intestine if it has been eating TB-infected wild animals
- These TB lesions in pigs can vary from a cream/green abscess to white, gritty lesions
- The size of a lesion can vary from a few millimetres across to up to 60mm in diameter
If you find a suspicious lesion in a pig
- Take a sample of the suspicious TB lesion, place it in a plastic container, seal it in a plastic bag and keep it cool
- Refrigerate or freeze the sample separately and away from any food
- Record the location where the pig or suspect animal was found
- Call us on 0800 482 4636 and ask to have the sample collected. It will then be forwarded to an animal health laboratory for testing
- Please be aware that submitting a positive TB sample does not mean that possum control will automatically be undertaken in the area. The sample will simply add to the local disease information
Is there a risk from handling
Although the risk is low, it is possible to get TB by handling infected animals or their carcasses. You should always practise good hygiene by:
- Disinfecting all knives, steels and other gear after use
- Being careful of cuts on your hands and arms that could be exposed to blood or raw meat
- Always wash your hands after cutting up animals and don’t smoke while working
- Always cook the meat thoroughly
Your checklist for disease-free hunting
- Check the TB status of the area you are hunting in and find out if it is a TB risk area known to contain TB-infected wild animals (vectors)
- See the map below of TB risk areas around New Zealand or visit www.tbfree.org.nz
- In these TB risk areas, remove the head at the kill site and leave it there, but if you have to transport it, ensure you dispose of it so other animals cannot scavenge on it
- Keep dogs away from all uncooked offal and remains and don’t feed it to them
- Do not take wild pigs from these TB risk areas and release them into other areas that are free of the disease in wild animals.
For more information call: 0800 482 4636