Tabs kept on all pigs

By Country News

Reporting of all pig movements is now mandatory after state and territory governments introduced a law on February 6.

The laws will strengthen Australia’s biosecurity, and Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum welcomed the changes.

‘‘Strong traceability is a key part of a strong biosecurity system,’’ he said.

‘‘We have world class piggeries right here in the Murray electorate and it is important we can keep them disease-free and healthy,’’ he said.

‘‘The NLIS for pork, known as PigPass, uses ear tags or tattoos to identify animals.

‘‘All pig movements onto farms, saleyards, showgrounds and abattoirs are documented in a database using a National Vendor Declaration.

‘‘This database is used by state and territory governments to trace livestock in an emergency.

‘‘PigPass means animals can be identified quickly and allows the property of birth and residence to be easily located if there were ever a food safety issue or an exotic disease outbreak.

‘‘This would be important if Australia had, say, a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak — it would help find the source of disease and stop its spread.’’

JW and GE Bourke Pty Ltd owner John Bourke said it was about time the identification system was mandatory.

‘‘It’s about time they brought everyone in line. We’ve been doing it since 2006,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s been good for years and it will be bringing the 10 to 15 per cent that don’t do it into line.

‘‘I’m congratulating the government for doing something.’’

VFF Pig Group president and pig producer Tim Kingma agreed.

‘‘I think it’s a positive. The majority have been doing it for a long time and it gets us all in line with each other,’’ he said.

With the pork industry worth more than $1.3billion to the national economy, Mr Kingma said this mandatory law was important.

‘‘I’m glad that we have a big part to play. It’s a positive that all producers can trace all pigs.

‘‘If we have a foot and mouth outbreak, we will be able to trace where they came from and where they are. It’s good to know where everything is,’’ he said.