Pigs are flying and putting our livestock sector at risk

Australia could be flying into trouble with African swine fever


Sheepmeat
PIGS ARE FLYING: Australian biosecurity resources are being stretched intercepting foreign pork on our borders.

PIGS ARE FLYING: Australian biosecurity resources are being stretched intercepting foreign pork on our borders.

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Federal Agriculture Minister, Bridget McKenzie, says the illegal import of pork is threatening Australia's livestock sector.

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The equivalent of four pigs are being seized at Australia's borders every week as quarantine authorities strive to keep African swine fever (ASF) out of the country.

ASF is now wreaking havoc with China's pig herd, the biggest in the world, and has also spread into neighbouring countries including Vietnam.

While ASF has provided an export boom for Australian sheepmeat and beef exports into China, having a deadly disease almost on our doorstep also poses serious dangers for our livestock sector.

GET THE MESSAGE: Federal Agriculture Minister, Bridget McKenzie, said travellers aren't getting the message about the dangers of bringing foreign pork into Australia.

GET THE MESSAGE: Federal Agriculture Minister, Bridget McKenzie, said travellers aren't getting the message about the dangers of bringing foreign pork into Australia.

Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said despite the global pandemic, the public hadn't got the message that meeting biosecurity requirements was non-negotiable.

"Between last November and May, 23 tonnes of pork was seized at Australian borders," Ms McKenzie said.

"That's the equivalent of four pigs arriving in the country every week.

"Australia works overtime to keep those threats at bay - intercepting over 1000 items of pork a week at airports and mail centres - but those odds are not in our favour.

"A change in our biosecurity status could damage our reputation as a clean and green producer threatening our market access - and many Australians probably aren't aware of this.

"That's why Australia's agriculture ministers agreed to promote biosecurity messages through a new national biosecurity website to improve the community's access to information.

READ MORE: WA pig semen smugglers gaoled for deliberate quarantine breaches

"The website is a portal directing users to relevant biosecurity information on trusted sites.

"If you're an on-line shopper, an international traveller, a keen gardener or a farmer, information is tailored to your interests.

"The site is in an early release stage so people can explore the content that relates to them and leave feedback. I encourage all Australians to jump on and have a look.

"The Australian Government is serious about making sure the community has access to the information it needs to play its part in managing biosecurity threats.

"Not knowing the rules is no excuse for doing the wrong thing - I want people to feel knowledgeable enough to do the right thing."

The website is available at beta.biosecurity.gov.au

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