Pig virus detection highlights biosecurity risks
29 January 2019
Recent detections of African swine fever virus in pork products confiscated at the national border by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) highlighted how easily diseases and pests can enter Victoria.
Victoria's Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Cameron Bell urged all Victorians to be aware of biosecurity risks and said it wasn't enough to rely on biosecurity inspections to stop potential pests and disease threats at the border.
"Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility and we all need to help protect our agriculture, our economy and our unique natural environment."
African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs which can lead to mortality rates of up to 100 per cent in affected herds.
No outbreaks of African swine fever have ever been recorded in Australia.
African swine fever does not affect humans, but an outbreak could have serious economic and animal health impacts, including the loss of important export markets.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has increased its border protection activities in response to the recent spread of the disease across parts of the world, including China. Samples of pork products seized at international airports and mail processing centres during a two-week period were tested for African swine fever virus.
"Whether it's in someone's luggage or in the mail, bringing in food, especially meat products, can also bring in diseases like African swine fever, which could devastate Australia's agricultural industries and the broader economy for many years," Dr Bell said.
Dr Bell said the detection was also a timely reminder to all pig owners not to feed swill to pigs.
"Swill feeding is prohibited in Australia because of its potential to introduce serious animal diseases like African swine fever. It is illegal to feed pigs waste food containing meat, meat products and any food that was served on the same plate or that has come into contact with meat, as well as imported dairy products," he said.
For more information about keeping African swine fever out of Australia, visit agriculture.gov.au/asf.
Contact Name: Nicole Cairns
Contact Number: 0436 675 030
Categorised under: Biosecurity