Spending time in the bush? Ensure feral pigs don't meet with meat

Page last updated: Thursday, 19 May 2022 - 5:25pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Whether you are a bushwalker, mountain bike rider, camper, fisher or rock climber, we all have a role to play in protecting Australia’s animals and regional industries from serious diseases.

Food scraps that contain meat or that have had contact with meat can cause severe diseases in pigs, including African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and Aujeszky’s disease.

To prevent these diseases occurring in Australia, it’s important to take all food scraps home from your bush visits so that feral pigs cannot access them.

Prevent African swine fever in our pigs

The world is currently grappling with the largest ever outbreak of African swine fever, a highly contagious virus that causes a death rate of 80% in pigs. There is no vaccine or cure for this pig disease. To date the disease has been reported in around 50 countries in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa and has now reached Australia’s near neighbours, Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

People can’t contract the virus, but they can spread the disease by leaving human food where pigs can access it.

In this way, African swine fever could be introduced into WA’s feral pig population. If the disease became established in feral pigs:

  • It would be extremely difficult to eradicate.
  • It could spread to farmed and pet pigs.
  • It could impact other agricultural sectors and market access.

To prevent this happening, it’s essential that feral pigs cannot access human food or food scraps.

Feral pigs are present in many areas of regional Western Australia and often live in areas where people engage in outdoor recreational activities.

All people who spend time in bush settings are urged not to leave any food scraps behind, and ensure feral pigs can’t access their food supplies.

How you can help

Steps people can take include:

  • Keep food and food scraps out of reach of feral animals when camping – put rubbish bags in a sealed container or inside a vehicle when away from the campsite.
  • Put food in secure bins where provided, or take scraps home with you in areas where bins are not provided.
  • Take a bag or container to keep food scraps and rubbish in when planning a hike or bushwalk.
  • Don’t bury food scraps or leave them for native animals to eat.

Report sick pigs

It’s also important that people report any dead or sick feral pigs by calling the Emergency Animal Disease hotline immediately on 1800 675 888. Your quick action could prevent the disease from spreading if it does enter Australia.

More information

Pig feed: what you can and can’t feed pigs (swill)

Emergency pig disease: African swine fever (ASF)