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Australian agriculture benefits enormously from its freedom from the more devastating epidemic diseases that plague livestock industries in other parts of the world. The introduction of exotic diseases could cause serious production losses to Australia’s livestock industries, jeopardise export markets for livestock products and/or have serious public health implications.
Emergency Animal Disease Preparedness
It is therefore essential that effective contingency plans and trained personnel are available to counter any diseases that penetrate our quarantine barriers. The Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) is a coordinated national response plan for the control and eradication of high impact animal diseases.
APL is party to the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA). This deed splits financial responsibilities in the event of a disease outbreak between impacted industries and the government.
The main emergency animal diseases (EADs) that could affect the pig industry are:
- Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
- Classical swine fever
- African swine fever
- Aujeszky’s disease
- Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)
- Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS)
For more information on emergency response arrangements for Australia’s livestock industries visit Animal Health Australia’s website.
ASF Summit communique
On 3 May 2019, industry and government met in Adelaide to discuss the current situation concerning the threat of African swine fever (ASF). The summit discussed gaps and opportunities to improve preparedness across Australia.
Strengthening emphasis on internal biosecurity
Key learnings from the African swine fever (ASF) simulation Exercise Rapid Strike, conducted in SA by PIRSA Biosecurity in May
In tandem with the Department of Agriculture’s focus on border biosecurity, compliance activities and assuring Australia’s appropriate level of protection to defend Australia from African swine fever, preparedness activities by industry and state jurisdictions are critical.
The three-day field simulation Exercise Rapid Strike (ERS2) tested and developed South Australia’s local capability and capacity in meeting biosecurity roles and responsibilities in response to an African swine fever incursion in its jurisdiction. The simulation involved infected farms and an abattoir (Infected Premises) classified to be within Restricted Areas. Specialist industry representatives were involved to develop common operating procedures and to inform tracing, planning and product recalls. Allied emergency agencies (e.g. police) attended to be briefed on how their services would be required.
There were several suggestions that should be considered jointly by industry and jurisdictions to make some improvements to preparedness and these are summarised in the fact sheet linked below.
Please consider discussing this with your veterinarian, or if you would like further information please contact Deb Kerr – GM Policy or Dr Lechelle van Breda – R&I Manager, Production Stewardship.
African swine fever kills pigs
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have released a new video on African swine fever (ASF). ASF is a deadly disease affecting domestic and feral pigs that could have devastating impacts on Australia’s pig industry. Please discuss ASF with your staff and ensure they are aware of the risks around ASF.
Video provided by the The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
For more information:
2018 African swine fever outbreak in China and Belgium
For more information on the detection of African swine fever in China and Belgium and actions being taken by authorities, visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/animal/asf#asf.
Video provided by the European Food Safety Authority.
More information on African swine fever:
APL webinar – African swine fever and feed ingredients biosecurity
Presented by Dr Eric Neumann
5 November 2018.
Dr Eric Neumann is a pig veterinarian and epidemiologist from New Zealand. He presents an update on the recent spread of African swine fever in China and Europe and discusses feed ingredients as potential vectors of disease.
APL webinar – Feed biosecurity and African swine fever
Presented by Dr Jason Woodworth
18 December 2018.
Dr Jason Woodworth is currently working as a Research Associate Professor as part of the Applied Swine Nutrition team at Kansas State University. He discusses viral transmission in pig feed, including African swine fever and feed mill biosecurity practices that have been evaluated in the US to maintain pig health.
Is your farm ASF biosecurity ready? Small holders webinar
Presented by Dr Trish Holyoake
14 March 2019.
Pig veterinarian specialist, Dr Trish Holyoake (Holyoake Veterinary Consulting) presented a webinar covering key biosecurity messages and actions to preventing exotic diseases such as ASF being introduced on your farm, with a particular focus on small holders.
New biosecurity resources for visitors to your farm
Ensure your farm visitors are aware of the risks around African swine fever (ASF) and the biosecurity measures they need to take to keep your pigs safe. APL and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) have developed some posters and a pamphlet to assist with biosecurity and ASF awareness. We encourage you to print them out and make them available to your visitors and staff.
Ensure your staff are aware of the risks around African swine fever (ASF). The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has developed some posters to assist with ASF awareness, these are now up on the APL website and we encourage you to discuss them with your staff.
Farm biosecurity focuses on practices producers can implement on farm to keep diseases out. Keeping diseases out is important to pig producers because diseases can:
- Reduce the productivity of livestock
- Affect farm incomes
- Affect animal welfare
- Reduce the value of farming land
- Close export markets or reduce the prices Australian producers can get for their exports – with a flow on effect to domestic prices.
For more information on farm biosecurity visit the Farm Biosecurity website at www.farmbiosecurity.com.au
A number of tools are available to help pig producers with on farm biosecurity.
National Farm Biosecurity Manual for Pork Production
The Australian pork industry has developed a new National Farm Biosecurity Manual for Pork Production. The manual contains information and specific procedures for all pig farmers to follow to help reduce the risk of disease entering a property, spreading through livestock and/or being passed to surrounding livestock operations.
Download a copy of the National Farm Biosecurity Manual for Pork Production.
Herd Health Program Checklist
The Herd Health Program has been developed to assist pig producers in meeting their obligation to have a Herd Health Plan to meet the Standard 5.2.7 of the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Pigs). The Herd Health Program helps you identify potential health and biosecurity risks to pigs and specifies action to prevent or minimise those risks. The Checklist has been designed by the Australian Pig Veterinarians, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), and has been endorsed by the AVA and Australian Pork Limited (APL).
If you want to develop a Herd Health Plan you can find a template on the Victorian Department of Primary Industries website at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/animals-and-livestock/pigs/pig-health-and-welfare/herd-health-program-checklist
Herd Health Fact Sheets are provided to support the Herd Health Program Checklist. You can view the Herd Health Factsheets in the Fact Sheets section of this website.
Swill Feeding is Illegal!
Did you know swill feeding is illegal?
Do not feed meat, meat products or anything that has been in contact with meat to pigs.
Swill is the traditional name for food scraps or food waste that contains or has come into contact with meat or meat products. Swill is a “Prohibited Pig Feed” which means it is illegal to feed it to pigs in all states and territories. This is because swill can carry exotic diseases that could devastate our livestock industries.
Feeding food scraps, bakery waste, restaurant waste and untreated used cooking oils to pigs is not allowed. These rules apply to all pigs including pet pigs and pigs kept on your property for your own consumption.
To be on the safe side look for quality assured feed and ask your feed supplier for a vendor declaration. If you are unsure what you can and can’t feed your pigs, ask your State Department of Primary Industries (DPI) for guidance.
If you notice any unusual symptoms in your pigs that you think could be an emergency animal disease, be on the safe side and report it immediately to: Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.
Evidence of Absence Surveillance Project
Australia’s pork trading partners regularly inquire on the disease status of the Australian pig herd. This APL funded project, being conducted by Animal Health Australia (AHA), aims to obtain surveillance evidence to both ensure that unnecessary import conditions are not applied to Australian pork exports and Australian import restriction agreements in place for pork (conditions applied to imported products) are science based.
Guidelines for Participating Pig Veterinarians have been developed for this project providing information for sample collection, management of results and use of data arising from this study. Each pig veterinarian is requested to identify a small number of cases with syndromes of interest and collect samples for testing by your state government animal health laboratory. It is requested that veterinarians advise producers that samples from their pig herd are being sent to the relevant state government laboratory for exotic disease exclusion testing to validate ‘proof of freedom’.