Biosecurity is about Keeping Our Pigs Safe.
Biosecurity prevents the entry and establishment of invasive species and diseases likely to harm Australia’s natural environment, agricultural systems, community health and economy.
Scientific evidence and advice plays an important role in our biosecurity system to help us make the right decisions, at the right time, to help keep Australia’s food supply safe.
Australia is very fortunate. Our geographical isolation and strict science based biosecurity protocols means Australia’s pig herd is free of many exotic diseases present in other countries. Some of these exotic diseases include foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) or porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).
At the Australian border, the Australian Government’s Pork Biosecurity Import Risk Assessment (Pork BIRA) governs the import of pork from other countries to ensure Australia remains free of these diseases. Within Australia, state governments govern the movement of livestock, including pigs, to prevent the spread of endemic diseases.
More recently, some state governments have introduced new biosecurity legislation that includes a general biosecurity duty or obligation based on the principle of a shared responsibility. This duty obliges individuals and organisations to prevent, eliminate or minimise the risk of spreading pests or disease that are likely to have a significant harmful effect on human health, social amenity, the economy, or the environment. For a member of the public, this may be as simple as reporting to a piggery owner or manager on entry to a piggery. They can then ascertain the biosecurity risks to the pigs and make informed decisions such as whether prevent your entry for a up to three days (e.g. if you have been on another pig farm recently), or to require you to shower in and out of the facility.
Each pig producer is required to have and implement an on-farm biosecurity plan, which will also meet the new biosecurity obligations described above. This protects the pigs by minimising the transmission of some diseases between pigs, between people and pigs, and from pigs to people. The Farm Biosecurity website details the steps involved for farms to prevent disease incursion, and includes a pig on-farm biosecurity manual.
For more information on the importance of biosecurity in the pig industry, visit the Keeping Our Pigs Safe website.