Page 10 - Australian Pork Newspaper
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Australia prepares its pig health industry for ASF and other diseases
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DR David Williams briefed over a hundred vets and animal health industry representatives about the devastating ef- fects of African swine fe- ver at Australian Animal Health Laboratory’s an- nual Emergency Animal Diseases Symposium.
African swine fever is a deadly disease in pigs which has a devastating impact on all pig farm- ers in countries where the disease is present.
Thanks to our strong border protection systems and stringent biosecurity measures, this disease hasn’t crossed Australia’s borders.
However, to maintain our good record, it re- mains vitally important to monitor global movement of emergency animal dis- eases and educate animal health workers to be on the lookout for unusual signs of disease.
Dr Williams presented
the latest information about the recent spread of ASF into China, including the immediate concern about the possible spread of ASF to other countries in the South-East Asian region.
The discovery of ASF in the remote Siberian city of Irkutsk in March 2017 foreshadowed the recent appearance of the disease in China, home to almost half the world’s popula- tion of domestic pigs.
Dr Williams said these outbreaks in China are potentially disastrous for pig farming and pork pro- duction in a country that has the highest per capita consumption of pork in the world.
“To date there have been 36 outbreaks of ASF in China reported to the World Animal Health Or- ganisation by the China Animal Disease Control Centre and over 160,000 pigs have died or been culled as part of control
efforts,” Dr Williams said. “There is currently no vaccine available to pre- vent this disease and so animal health authorities now face a daunting task to control the disease, in- specting millions of pigs at farms, markets and ab-
attoirs across China.” ASF is caused by a virus infection that only affects
wild or domestic pigs.
It is not a human disease and human consumption of infected pork is harm- less, but the effect on pig populations is devastating. In domestic pigs and wild boar, infection caus- es a skin rash, severe in- ternal bleeding and the accumulation of fluid in
the lungs.
For most pigs, this is
The virus is very har-
dy and can survive for months in chilled or fro- zen meat, cured hams or sausages, though cooking will inactivate the virus.
It can also survive for long periods in the en- vironment in pig excre- tions, such as faeces or urine, and in blood, which can contain very high amounts of the virus.
“Pigs can therefore be- come infected by eating contaminated food, direct contact with other infect- ed pigs, or from contami- nated soil or farm equip- ment,” Dr Williams said.
“A major factor in the spread of the disease is human behaviour and ac- tivities.
“Illegal movement of pigs or pork products across borders by traders or foreign workers, im- proper disposal of food waste at entry ports, swill feeding and the illegal sale of pigs from infected herds all contribute to the spread of ASF.”
Of major concern now is the potential for the further spread of ASF throughout South-East Asia, and the socio-eco- nomic consequences if this were to happen.
Further spread into the region seems inevitable, and the recent detection of ASF DNA in food brought into South Korea by a re- turning traveller from China highlights the risk to nearby countries.
Scientists at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory are watch- ing disease movement closely and participating in regional activities, as all countries in the South-
East Asian region are now on high alert for ASF.
For example, Dr Wil- liams recently attended an emergency meeting con- vened by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organi- sation to address regional preparedness for ASF.
“The most urgent action needed now is for at risk countries to ensure they are prepared to deal with an incursion of ASF,” Dr Williams said.
“Key elements include the capacity to perform rapid field investigations and laboratory diagnosis for early detection of ASF.
“Underlying this is an effective veterinary ser- vice and a sound under- standing of the pig farm- ing and production, which may be complex and in- volve cross-border trade.
“There is no question that China and the region are facing a major threat to food biosecurity.
“The fight against ASF will be won through shared responsibility for implementing preventa- tive measures, as well as open, collaborative and co-ordinated outbreak response, involving all affected or at-risk coun- tries.”
For Australia, this is a timely reminder that main- taining our excellent bio- security practices is of ut- most importance to ensure we are fully prepared to swing into action should an emergency animal disease be detected.
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Pork Queensland Inc AGM December 13
President’s Perspective
PORK Queensland Inc will hold its AGM via a tele meeting on December 13, 2018 at 7pm.
Current members will receive a notice by email, however any potential new members are welcome to join the meeting in the interest of joining the organi- sation.
If you would like call details, please contact me directly.
PQI is aware of the extreme pressure the industry is facing with the impacts of market supply and the ongoing drought.
The organisation pro- vides representation for all types and levels of pig farming in Queens- land and holds posi- tions on government and industry reference groups, considering issues around regula- tions, biosecurity, ani- mal welfare and disas- ter relief.
Our organisation also holds membership with Queensland Farm- ers’ Federation to gain a greater voice with other intensive animal industries.
PQI is currently in- vestigating the road- blocks around pro- ducers trying to gain access to state and fed- eral support to over- come the impacts of the drought.
Results will be used to review the current application and eligi- bility process.
PQI works closely with Australian Pork Limited on issues such as the reviews around licence fees for pigger- ies, including the col- lection of biogas.
The current direc- tors include John Riley, Laurie Brosnan, Paul Taylor, Robyn Boundy and me.
Persons wishing to nominate for a director position should contact me at john.coward1@ or phone 0407 622 166.
I would also like to thank producers and industry associates who have supported our re- cent membership drive.
Having a larger and more diversified mem- bership provides great- er impact when meet- ing with ministers on industry issues.
Page 10 – Australian Pork Newspaper, November 2018

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