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No Food Scraps to Pigs Campaign

09 June 2009

AUSTRALIA - A new campaign is underway to raise awareness of the risks of feeding food scraps that have had contact with any form of meat to pigs.

Department of Agriculture and Food veterinarian Anna Erickson said the campaign would target small piggeries, farm stays, pet pig owners, menageries and abattoirs, as well as environmental health officers and food outlets.

“Many non-commercial pig owners and food outlet staff may not be aware that most food scraps fit the definition of swill and that feeding swill to pigs is illegal,” Dr Erickson said.

“Swill is any meat, meat scraps, meat trimmings, animal offal, blood, bones or any material which contains meat or any other waste or refuse not known to be free of meat or from contact with meat.

“Because ‘swill’ is an unfamiliar term among the general public, in this campaign the department has chosen to use the term ‘food scraps’ instead."

Dr Erickson said feeding food scraps to pigs would be the most likely way that foot and mouth disease (FMD) could enter Australia.

“The 2001 outbreak of FMD in the United Kingdom was thought to have been started through the feeding of swill to pigs,” she said.

“Pigs infected with FMD produce large amounts of virus that can infect other animals by contact, via the air, or through movement of animals, vehicles or people from the infected farm.

“FMD could have devastating personal and financial effects on individual pig owners and Australia’s livestock industries,” she said. Dr Erickson said during the campaign department officers would be contacting all rural and outer metropolitan local government environmental health officers to update their knowledge about swill feeding and provide them with brochures to distribute to food outlets.

“Department officers will also liaise with food outlet staff in their area about the disposal of food scraps and provide additional information on the risks of feeding of swill to pigs,” she said “Department officers will visit small piggeries, farm stays, pet pig owners, menageries and abattoirs in their area and display posters and distribute brochures at relevant field days.” Dr Erickson said the WA Pork Producers Association strongly supported the campaign.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) by clicking here.

ThePigSite News Desk



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