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Dogmann

African Swine Fever Awareness Post #3

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One of the APDHA's partners in this awareness program is the group representing Australian commercial pork producers, Australian Pork Ltd. General Manager, Policy Deb Kerr recently flew to Darwin to talk specifically with the APDHA about pig hunters' role in African Swine Fever (ASF) awareness and management...The key issue right now is that ASF is in East Timor about 650km from the NT and it has the potential to wipe out the commercial and wild pig herds if not managed correctly. This is Australian Pork Ltd's position on the issue...(Note the graphic we have used is from Europe and some minor points won't apply here. However, the broad message remains relevant. The APDHA is working on graphics for Australian conditions.)

Deadly disease and Australia’s feral pigs
By Deb Kerr, Australian Pork Ltd, General Manager Policy 

You must have been living on Mars if you have not heard of African swine fever (ASF) and its devastating spread throughout Asia. It’s estimated that 25 per cent of the world’s domestic pigs are or will be dead as a result of the disease. Australia’s domestic and feral pig herd are naïve to the significant pig diseases overseas meaning any incursion will inevitably result in high mortality rates – potentially up to 100 per cent. This nasty virus is extremely hardy – it survives in frozen meat for years, will live without a host for six weeks or more, and it tolerates extremes of pH. Heat will kill the virus, but this must be for at least 100°C for 60 minutes. This means that the cooking of most processed pork products will not deactivate the virus. Can you imagine how difficult it will be to eradicate it from a piggery and the environment? Australian Pork Limited (APL) is working with Australian governments to ensure Australia’s border biosecurity is robust, that governments are prepared should the disease come to Australia, and with commercial producers and domestic pig owners to ramp up their on-farm biosecurity. An ASF incursion will result in the closure of export markets – including the feral pig meat trade to the EU. The impacts to the commercial pig industry will range from up to $900M over three years for a small incursion to $2B over five years for a large multi-state incursion. These figures are conservative at best. Everyone has a role to help keep this nasty virus out of Australia. Travellers should not bring any pork or pork products to Australia and online ordering of pork meat should be stopped. These are our biggest risk pathways and we urge all Australians and visitors alike to respect these requirements. Our hunting and pig dogging community has an important role to play in surveillance of the feral pig population. If you see multiple deaths of groups of feral pigs, or significant still births/abortions, please take the GPS coordinates and report these to your state authorities. They will investigate and take samples for testing. Another important issue is allegations that some people transport and release feral pigs from one region to another. If anyone is doing this or considering doing it they need to stop immediately. If feral pigs have the disease, transporting them live will spread it around the country. APL is working with the Australian Pig Doggers and Hunters Association and the Australian Government to see if a surveillance program can be put in place. If there is no disease, a surveillance program that includes testing of feral pig ear samples for disease will help to underpin Australia’s ongoing freedom for a number of exotic diseases. Should an ASF incursion occur, the program will be important to underpin our efforts to be reclassified as free of the disease. This will be critical to our export markets re-opening for the trade of Australian pork and pork products, including the feral pig meat trade to the EU. And finally, please put the disease hotline number 1800 675 888 in your phone. If you see anything suspicious, please call this number and report it to your state government authority.

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Edited by Dogmann

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Sorry for the layout. The article came in with some coding on it I cant remove yet. I'll work on it.

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