New legislation aimed at boosting the protection of the pig and livestock industries from swill feeding has been introduced by the Victorian Government.
According to the media release by the Premier of Victoria, swill feeding is a serious potential biosecurity threat, so anyone who supplies swill for feeding pigs could end up with a fine of up to $53,139.
The Victorian Coalition Government has also announced efforts to raise awareness within the industry itself by sending letters to pig producers to remind them that swill feeding is an offence, while new pig farmers are set to receive a complete package of information.
The Primary Industries Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, which was introduced to Parliament yesterday, incorporates changes to the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 “to strengthen penalties for the feeding of swill – or food scraps that contain animal products.”
The Government has developed a draft Pig Biosecurity Standard that addresses swill feeding and numerous other issues and is currently waiting for the industry’s comments.
“These changes will create a new offence for businesses such as restaurants or garbage disposal services that have been found to be supplying swill for feeding pigs, with a fine of up to $53,139. This is in addition to existing swill feeding penalties of up to $17,713 for farmers. Swill feeding has the potential to cause an outbreak of exotic disease like foot and mouth disease, which could cost the Australian economy up to $50 billion in the event of a large-scale outbreak,” said Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh.
“The Matthews Report commissioned by the Commonwealth Government stated that the feeding of swill would actually be the most likely cause of entry of food and mouth disease into Australia. That is why the Victorian Coalition Government takes this issue extremely seriously and is committed to ensuring the protection of our state’s livestock industries. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries investigates cases of potential swill feeding and has successfully prosecuted through the courts.”