AgMemo - Livestock news, October 2019

Page last updated: Wednesday, 27 November 2019 - 9:12am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

In this edition:

Help prevent African swine fever entering and establishing in Western Australia

Animal welfare consultations

Preventing lead poisoning in stock

Value adding to meat through dry ageing

2019 bushfire season: are you ready?

Sheep Genetics forums

Help prevent African swine fever entering and establishing in Western Australia

Graphic reads "It is illegal to feed food scraps swill to pigs" with a picture of a pig and a red X through bucket of food scraps
It is illegal across Australia to feed pigs meat, products that contain meat or that have had contact with meat or non-Australian dairy (known as prohibited pig feed or swill feeding).

Every pig owner, pig hunter and landowner with feral pigs has a vital role to play in reducing the risk of the serious pig disease, African swine fever, occurring in Australia. With the spread of African swine fever throughout Europe, China, South-East Asia and most recently in Timor Leste, the disease poses a major threat to Australia’s pigs.

The disease is an infectious virus that usually causes high death rates in pigs and there is no vaccination available. It does not affect people.

The most likely way that African swine fever and other devastating exotic diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease could be introduced to Australia is through illegally imported meat products being fed to pigs.

For this reason, it is illegal across Australia to feed pigs meat, products that contain meat or that have had contact with meat or non-Australian dairy (known as prohibited pig feed or swill feeding).

African swine fever can be spread by direct contact with infected pigs (including feral pigs), contaminated vehicles, equipment or clothing and by feeding swill to pigs. If African swine fever became established in feral pig populations, it would be extremely difficult to eradicate.

All pig owners should immediately review and reinforce biosecurity measures to prevent African swine fever. In particular:

  • Review pig feed practices to ensure pigs cannot access swill. Also securely fence farm dumps to exclude feral pigs from accessing food waste.
  • Ensure feral pigs cannot access domestic pigs or pig facilities through appropriate segregation and fencing.
  • Ensure that farm visitors and staff do not have contact with your pigs if they have been overseas in the previous seven days.
  • Know the signs of African swine fever: sudden death, blotching of the skin, especially the ears, loss of appetite, huddling or hiding in corners, diarrhoea which may be bloody.
  • Call a vet or the emergency animal disease hotline immediately on 1800 675 888 if you suspect the disease.
  • If you suspect swill is being fed to pigs, call a department biosecurity officer or vet or the Emergency Animal Disease hotline on 1800 675 888.


Anyone who owns pigs, even just one as a pet, is legally required to register with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) as a livestock owner.

In the case of an emergency disease outbreak such as African swine fever, we will need to be able to map the location and movements of all domestic pigs quickly. For more information about registering, contact DPIRD on 1300 WA NLIS (1300 926 547) or see

Feral pigs

All landowners have a responsibility under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 to manage declared pests such as feral pigs on their land. Control methods such as baiting with 1080 and trapping are preferred. These techniques concentrate feral pigs and provide the best opportunities to significantly reduce feral pig abundance in a specific area.

Hunting and the use of dogs to catch feral pigs should be avoided, as this can cause pigs to disperse or move to other areas, increasing the risk of spreading African swine fever.

For more information about the best options for management, contact a local DPIRD biosecurity officer or see the DPIRD Feral Pig page or visit the PestSmart Feral Pig page.


Hunters can help in the fight against African swine fever with good hunting practices, including.

  • reporting dead pigs or unusual disease signs in feral pigs to 1800 675 888;
  • cleaning and disinfecting equipment and bagging all carcasses before leaving the hunting site;
  • removing carcasses so that they cannot be accessed by other feral pigs and taking all food home;
  • not moving live feral pigs to another location – this is illegal and can spread disease.

Anyone participating in hunting feral pigs, should not have contact with domestic pigs.

International travellers

Visitors or farm workers from overseas should be reminded to not bring meat or animal products into Australia and to declare if they have been visiting farms or hiking.

To report international mail containing meat or animal products, contact the federal hotline on 1800 798 636.

Campers/grey nomads

Campers should always take their waste with them and dispose of it so it cannot be accessed by animals such as feral pigs.

For more information and further biosecurity measures, visit the Farm Biosecurity website or search ‘African swine fever resources’ on the department website at

For more information contact Dr Vanessa Rushworth, veterinary officer, South Perth on +61 (0)8 9368 3076