African swine fever prevention and increased pig traceability will be the key focus of the livestock biosecurity display at the Albany Show on 8-9 November.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior veterinary officer Sue Skirrow said the spread of African swine fever throughout Europe, China, South-East Asia and most recently in Timor-Leste posed a major threat to Australia’s pigs.
“African swine fever is an infectious virus that usually causes high death rates in pigs and there is no vaccination available. It does not affect people,” Dr Skirrow said.
“Every community member has a role to play in reducing the risk of the African swine fever occurring in Australia. This includes pig owners, landowners with feral pigs, hunters, bushwalkers, campers, international travellers, backpackers and food businesses.
“Visitors at Albany Show can speak to our vets and pick up a range of information about African swine fever – including on the disease itself, prevention measures and reporting.”
Dr Skirrow said that most importantly, pig owners should ensure that pigs were not fed meat, products containing meat or that had been in contact with meat, or non-Australian dairy products (known as prohibited pig feed or swill feeding).
“If you own pigs, review their diet now. Also check your fences are secure around farm dumps so that feral pigs cannot access food waste,” she said.
“If you see unusual illness or deaths in domestic or feral pigs, call your vet or the emergency animal disease hotline immediately on 1800 675 888.
“If you suspect swill is being fed to pigs, report it to your local department biosecurity officer or vet or the hotline on 1800 675 888.”
Biosecurity officer Heidi Meyer will also be on hand at the show to provide information on livestock traceability, including how to register as a pig owner.
“A key part of keeping our animals safe in WA is knowing where they are now, where they have been in the past and what other livestock they have had contact with on those properties,” Ms Meyer said.
“If you own pigs, even just one as a pet, you are legally required to register with the department as a livestock owner, obtain a property identification code, identify your animals correctly and record their movements.
“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. This is needed so that we can contact pig owners with biosecurity information and contain the disease as quickly as possible.
“Visit us at the show and we will be able to help you through the process for registering as a pig owner or for owning any other type of livestock.”
For more information about African swine fever, see the department website at agric.wa.gov.au.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937/3325