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Reminder: Don't Feed Swill to Pigs

20 December 2011, at 10:15am

AUSTRALIA - As we enter the festive season with its focus on food and travel, pig owners are reminded that food scraps (also known as swill) must not be fed to pigs.

Department of Agriculture and Food livestock veterinary officer Skye Badger said the feeding of swill to pigs was illegal in Australia.

“Swill is any food that contains meat, blood or bone such as animal carcases, or any other food which has been in contact with meat, such as bakery, and fruit and vegetable waste,” Dr Badger.

“Food which is not known to be free of meat or free from contact with meat products is also considered to be swill.

“New requirements under the Veterinary Chemical Control & Animal Feeding Stuffs Regulations 2006 have enhanced the penalties. Anyone found guilty of feeding swill to pigs could be fined $2000 per offence.”

Swill feeding was linked to the devastating Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001 which cost the UK an estimated A$30 billion. It is estimated a similar FMD outbreak in Australia could cost upwards of A$15 billion.

The department conducts regular checks of pig owners to monitor for swill-feeding practices.

“In addition to table scraps, waste from restaurants, bakeries and fast food outlets must not be fed to pigs,” Dr Badger said.

“Pet pig owners, animal nurseries and farm stay operators need to be aware of their legal obligation not to feed food scraps to their pigs. This obligation includes ensuring family and visitors comply with this requirement.”

Contact your local Department of Agriculture and Food office for further information, or to discuss issues relating to pig feeding or swill disposal.

Pig owners should report any signs of unusual illness or unexpected deaths in pigs to a veterinarian or call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.