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Be careful what you feed your pigs

Hunter Local Land Services is reminding all pig owners some food materials are illegal to feed to pigs. Pigs must not be fed meat, meat products or any other food that has been in contact with meat. These are known as prohibited pig feed (‘swill’) and include:
  • Bakery goods containing meat such as pies, sausage rolls, bacon and cheese rolls
  • Household, commercial or industrial waste including restaurant food
  • Mammal carcasses
Swill feeding is prohibited in Australia because of its potential to introduce serious livestock diseases like African swine fever (ASF) and foot-and-mouth disease.

These restrictions apply to all pigs, including pet pigs.

Foods not considered prohibited pig feed, which may be fed to pigs include:
  • Milk, milk products and by products either of Australian origin or legally imported into Australia for stock feed use
  • Eggs
  • Commercial made dry meal made from meat, blood or bone
  • Non-meat bakery goods
  • Fruit vegetables and cereals
ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and feral pigs. If introduced to Australia, it would have a significant impact on pig health and production and contribute to wider economic impacts, including loss of access to overseas markets for our pork products.

ASF is present in countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and has more recently been detected in other parts of the world such as countries in Eastern Europe including Russia and the Ukraine. It has most recently been reported in Belgium (wild boar), China and Mongolia.

ASF virus has recently been detected in seized pork products at international airports and mail processing centres in Australia.

This does not change Australia’s ASF free status. However, test results do reinforce the importance of continued risk management and compliance with Australia’s biosecurity requirements.

With increasing numbers of people visiting or mailing goods into Australia, it is crucial that all participants in Australia’s biosecurity system play their part in managing this threat. We all have an important role to play in preventing the introduction of exotic diseases into Australia.

Hunter Local Land Services District Veterinarian, Jim Kerr, said of the problem, “Australia has an estimated population of 24 million feral pigs and if this figure sounds familiar, it is because it is roughly the same as the human population of our beautiful land”.

“Should this virus become established in wild pigs we would have an enormous task to control it.

“Thankfully, we have never had ASF in Australia and everyone has a role in protecting the health and welfare of Australia’s livestock.”

Jim continued, “Think twice about what you bring back with you from overseas and ask yourself where your boots walked. Don’t hesitate, just declare it”.

“Think twice about what you order online and, if you own pigs, never feed meat or any food that could have had contact with meat.

“If you work in a food outlet ensure that you do not supply scraps for pigs that contain or have contacted meat.”

Play it safe – if you are unsure of what is allowable to feed to your pigs contact your nearest Hunter Local Land Services District Veterinarian for advice and help protect Australia from exotic diseases. You can call us on 1300 795 299 for more information.