Piggery surveillance

28 Nov, 2001 10:00 PM
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ALTHOUGH the Department of Agriculture's piggery audit should be completed next month there would be on-going surveillance, according to senior veterinary officer Preston Suijdendorp.

The audit was announced after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK, believed to have started through illegal swill feeding of pigs.

Mr Suijdendorp said district stock inspectors, agricultural protection officers and veterinarians had been involved in the first round of the audit, which had been supported by the WA Pork Producers Association.

He said the first target was backyard piggeries, that had one or two pigs.

Swill feeding, which is illegal in Australia, includes meat scraps, meat trimmings, animal offal, blood, bones, any meat (including from sandwiches) or any waste not known to be free of meat of contact with meat.

Mr Suijdendorp said while vegetable waste was not classified as swill there was a potential danger that if scraps from the local vegetable shop and butcher shop were mixed and fed to pigs.

Piggeries were being targeted because pigs were omnivores and more likely to eat meat than other animals.

Results of the audit show 8pc of producers surveyed had fed carcasses to pigs, a small number had been fed vegetable or bakery waste and 3pc of those piggeries had tourist facilities.

"We have not found anybody feeding high risk material and while there have been offences where carcasses have been feed, these are fairly low risk," he sad.

Mr Suijdendorp said they would not prosecute in the first round of the audit, which had been to check piggeries, stop swill feeding and inform owners of the potential FMD risks.

The Pig Industry Compensation Fund would meet half the cost of the audit.

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