Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie

August 26, 2019

The Federal Government has warned that African Swine Fever – which is decimating pig herds in Asia – is one of the most significant threats to the national economy in recent memory.

The highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease is spread by live or dead pigs as well as pork products.

But despite this, illegal imports of pork products into Australia are soaring.

Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said the public had not got the message that meeting biosecurity requirements was non-negotiable.

“Between last November and May, 23 tonnes of pork has been seized at Australian borders,” Senator 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.”

She encouraged all Australians – online shoppers, international travellers, gardeners and farmers – to visit a new website designed to provide community access to bisecurity information.

African Swine Fever (ASF) can have up to a 100 per cent fatality rate among both domestic and wild pigs.

It can also be spread via contaminated feed, clothing or vehicles and there is no approved vaccine.

Since February this year, more than 4,000,000 pigs in Vietnam have either died or been culled due to ASF.

As well, about 1,170,000 pigs have been killed in China.

The disease has also been detected this year in herds in Mongolia, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Humans cannot catch the disease.

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