February 21, 2020
African Swine Fever has now been detected in Greece, prompting the State Government to warn Queenslanders again to be aware of this very real biosecurity threat to the local pork industry.
An advertising campaign emphasising that “people food is not pig food” began this week.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said African Swine Fever could potentially wipe out a valuable industry, hitting the economy and people’s jobs.
“The biggest threat is from the illegal importation of pork or pork products through incoming passenger movements and mail and these products being eaten by pigs,” Mr Furner said.
“A new awareness campaign starting this week will educate community members – particularly those who come in contact with pigs – about the significant threat from African Swine Fever.
“It only takes one person illegally bringing pork or pork products into Australia from overseas and these being fed to pigs.
“The community needs to know that ‘people food is not pig food’ and also be able to identify the signs and symptoms of African Swine Fever and how to report it.
“While people can’t be infected with African Swine Fever, actions such as feeding pigs ham and cheese rolls and Caesar salads can have detrimental effect on our pork industry.
“Prevention is the key, so we really need everybody to understand the risk and that’s why we’re running this education campaign.”
Mr Furner said there was no treatment or vaccine for African Swine Fever, which affects pigs but not humans.
“In its most severe form, up to 100 per cent of pigs may be affected and die,” he said.
“It is estimated that up to a quarter of the world’s pigs have been lost as a result of African swine fever during the current global outbreak.”
Anyone who keeps pigs must be registered as a biosecurity entity. Visit qld.gov.au/BiosecurityRegistration to learn more.
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Dr Heather Channon has been appointed as Australia’s first national feral pig management co-ordinator.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said there were an estimated 24 million feral pigs in Australia, costing the national agricultural sector about $14.5 million a year and posing the risk of spreading diseases such as African Swine Fever.
A roundtable will be held in Canberra in late March to bring together industry, governments, researchers and other stakeholders to deliver a national approach to feral pig management.
Mr Littleproud said $1.4 million was announced last November to fund Australian Pork Limited to support a co-ordinator to tackle the feral pig problem.
“This role will coordinate reliable methods and work collaboratively on the ground with landholders, the States and territories to manage feral pig numbers,” he said.