Pig health and welfare programs

Agriculture Victoria's animal health and welfare programs aim to:

  • monitor disease occurrence
  • mitigate the economic and social effects of livestock disease and chemical residue occurrence
  • facilitate the marketing of Victorian livestock and livestock products
  • promote the welfare of farmed animals

The programs form part of a national approach to ensure that our livestock and livestock products meet the requirements of domestic and international customers.

Pig Services Centre (Bendigo)

The Pig Services Centre is proudly part of Agriculture Victoria, focussed on safeguarding the biosecurity and supporting the sustainability of the Victorian pig industry.

The Centre undertakes:

  • surveillance activities for early detection of diseases, including: 
    • laboratory and on-farm disease investigation services
    • abattoir-based pig health monitoring services (PHMS)
  • manufacturing of autogenous vaccines for the pig and poultry industry.

Disease surveillance by inspection

One of the important functions of the Centre is to ensure that we quickly become aware of unusual disease events on Victorian pig farms.

Disease surveillance is performed by inspectors visiting selected abattoirs across the state. Pig carcasses are inspected for lesions that may be associated with endemic or exotic diseases.

The Centre also supports veterinarians and pig producers via a range of diagnostic services.

Farm-specific vaccines

The Centre has a well-established vaccine production laboratory with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) accreditation provided by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

The Centre produces farm-specific (autogenous) vaccines to assist with the control of endemic livestock diseases (primarily pigs and poultry.) Vaccines produced at the Centre aid in the prevention of diseases including, but not limited to:

  • Pleuropneumonia caused by Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP)
  • Glässers disease caused by Haemophilus parasuis (now referred to as Glässerella parasuis)
  • Greasy Pig disease caused by Staphylococcus hyicus.

Pig welfare

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008 promote the welfare of pigs in Victoria.

'Animal welfare' refers to how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is:

  • healthy
  • comfortable
  • well nourished
  • safe
  • able to express innate behaviour
  • if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.

Good animal welfare requires:

  • disease prevention and veterinary treatment
  • appropriate shelter
  • management
  • nutrition
  • humane handling
  • humane slaughter.

Animal welfare refers to the state of an animal and how it is coping with the conditions in which it lives. It doesn't refer to the treatment it receives. This is instead covered by other terms such as:

  • animal care
  • animal husbandry
  • humane treatment.

Duty of care

Duty of care is a legal obligation for people to take reasonable measures to protect the welfare of any animals upon which their activities impact.

To fully understand your obligations in ensuring the welfare of pigs you own, you agist or that are in your care, please review the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a pig or pigs, please contact your local animal health officer or district veterinary officer on 136 186.

Pig welfare standards and guidelines

The Pig Welfare Standards and Guidelines is a set of mandatory standards and guidelines for people responsible for the welfare of pigs under intensive, deep litter and outdoor systems.

It recognises that the basic requirement for the welfare of pigs is a husbandry system managed by trained and skilled stockpersons.

This standard is regulated under the Livestock Management Act (2010).

Page last updated: 15 Jan 2021