Local pig farmers want tighter biosecurity to prevent African Swine Fever

Local pig farmer and head of the NSW Farmers pork Committee Ean Pollard has said African swine fever remains front of mind for Australia's pork producers amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Pollard believes it is critical the disease stays outside Australia's borders to prevent the country from having to fight off two pandemics on two fronts.

African Swine Fever has been reported in the Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), adding to recent detections in two of Australia's other neighbouring countries - Indonesia and Timor Leste.

"It is critical that African Swine Fever stays out of Australia , especially at this crucial time, when Australia is already fighting a human health crisis and we need to maintain fresh food supplies," Mr Pollard said.

Ean Pollard.

Ean Pollard.

"This virus does not affect humans, but it causes a death rate of more than 80 percent in infected pigs and is extremely difficult to eradicate. If ASF enters Australia, it would have significant impact on the domestic pork industry."

"Biosecurity is essential at this time and we welcome the assurance that biosecurity measures are being ramped up in the Torres Strait in response to COVID-19 and are being reassessed to ensure they manage the risk of ASF as well."

Mr Pollard believes farmers are already highly vigilant when it comes to biosecurity and many pork producers have been improving their on-farm biosecurity in response to the global spread of the African Swine Fever.

"NSW Farmers has been advocating for greater awareness around ASF and the important biosecurity measures pork producers can take," he said.

"Biosecurity is crucial for all Australians at this time. We are all in this together."