Australian authorities alert to swine fever risk

Australian authorities alert to swine fever risk


Opinion
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The Philippines is the latest country to report the disease.

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The Philippines has confirmed the detection of African swine fever (ASF) in pig herds, making it the latest country to report the disease.

Since 2018, ASF has spread through parts of Europe and Asia, including Belgium, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Fortunately, Australia is ASF free, but the industry and the federal government are on high alert.

There is no doubt that ASF would be devastating for pork producers and entry of the disease would seriously compromise Australia's competitive export advantage gained through its disease-free status.

In response to the heightened threat of ASF reaching Australia, pork producers are urged to review their farm biosecurity and staff training arrangements and to regularly consult their veterinarian.

Australian Pork Limited advises producers to ask any staff travelling to ASF affected countries to avoid contact with pigs or other livestock and to follow veterinary advice on their return to Australia.

The virus is typically contracted through the consumption of contaminated pork products and feed.

The highest risk of ASF entry to Australia is via illegally imported contaminated pork products, which are swill fed to domestic pigs or accessed by feral pigs.

NSW Farmers is working to ensure that pork producers and the NSW DPI are prepared to manage an outbreak.

We are also advocating for greater investment in biosecurity at the Australian border to ensure sufficient testing is carried out on products entering the country.

NSW Farmers attended an emergency ASF roundtable last week, convened by Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie.

We were pleased to see so many industry organisations and government representatives attend and that the minister had a great understanding of the risk of ASF and the importance of biosecurity.

  • Ean Pollard, NSW Farmers Pork Committee chair
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