Australia

Biosecurity officials on alert for African swine fever

China's agriculture ministry said a total of 143 outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) have been reported in China since last August. Source: Barcroft Media

Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie says Australia's biosecurity officials are on alert as the deadly pig virus, African swine fever, spreads across Asia.

Biosecurity officials are on full alert at Australia's borders as the pig-killing African swine fever sweeps through Asia.

South Korea, Australia's third-largest trading partner, confirmed it had an outbreak of the disease earlier this month, while China was forced to cull 50 per cent of its pork production, federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie says.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure African swine fever does not reach our shore," she told Sky News on Sunday.

Authorities say backyard pig farming is allowing the epidemic to spread across other nations.
Authorities say backyard pig farming is allowing the epidemic to spread across other nations.
AFP

"It would decimate our 2700 pork producers and the 34,000 jobs that go along with that industry."

She believes it will have repercussions for global trade for decades.

Australia is determined to keep its "gold standard" pest and disease-free status as an exporter.

Senator McKenzie said there was increased screening of people and parcels coming in from affected nations.

Since that started 27 tonnes of cooked pork product had been detected through Australian borders

"People are still disregarding our biosecurity laws," she said.

"We can send them home, we can slap significant fines on them and I'll be encouraging our biosecurity officials to be doing exactly that with those offenders."

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