AUSTRALIA’S strict border biosecurity arrangements paid off with the interception of six illegal shipments of pork products carrying African swine fever (ASF)
The virus is not present in Australia and the interceptions came as the Department of Agriculture increased its border activities in response to the recent spread of ASF.
Australia has about 20 million farmed pigs and an estimated 20 million feral pigs and researchers say if ASF breaks through the border defences it may be very difficult to eradicate.
The Australian Animal Health Laboratory is working with Kansas State University in the United States and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Britain to develop a vaccine.
Highly contagious ASF is present in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and has recently been detected in Eastern Europe, including Russia and the Ukraine, as well as Belgium, China and Mongolia.
The Chinese outbreak saw almost 800,000 pigs destroyed in 23 provinces.
The dangerous shipments were seized at Australia’s international airports and mail processing centres over a two-week period.