Pig farmers must remain vigilant and increase farm security, VFF Pigs Group chairman John Bourke warned producers at the group’s annual meeting in Shepparton on Thursday.CATHY WALKER July 15, 2014 3:00am
In a week where animal activist group PETA gained international publicity when it released video of shearers — some allegedly in Victoria — mistreating sheep, Mr Bourke said animal activists continued to raid pig farms illegally, potentially causing a biosecurity disaster.
‘‘Only last month we saw extremist vegan group ‘Aussie Farms’ launch a spate of break-ins to ‘expose’ farmers in what was a cowardly name-and-shame game in protest at Bacon Week,’’ Mr Bourke said.
Drones have also been sighted recently flying over intensive farming operations in south-east Queensland.
Mr Bourke said the VFF was in the process of organising special farm crime information sessions in regional centres over coming months.
‘‘Ultimately the law needs to protect farms and farmers,’’ Mr Bourke said.
‘‘We are actively working with DEPI to implement laws to charge trespassers with biosecurity breaches.’’
While he outlined other challenges for pork producers such as foreign imports and the disease risks of swill feeding, it was an upbeat meeting headlined by the launch of the Pig Specialist Centre after what Mr Bourke said were five solid years of lobbying.
The centre will see the relaunch of DEPI’s Pig Health Research Unit in Bendigo. It will be funded in part by the Swine Compensation Fund, a producer levy that raises more than $250
‘‘It’s a triumph for the Victorian pig industry and the opportunity to set the standard in pig health and research both nationally and internationally,’’ said Mr Bourke, who thanked Pat Mitchell, Hugo Dunlop and Ian Connaughton for their ‘‘input, passion and determination’’.
Former DPI research scientist and later Castlemaine Bacon Co operations manager Mr Connaughton said on Monday he applauded Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh for his foresight and for listening to the industry.
After being a part of three separate inquiries into the pig meat industry, Mr Connaughton observed that ‘‘a lot of reports can get buried’’.
‘‘The unit was doomed to closure and I admire the minister for supporting the ideas put forward,’’ Mr Connaughton said.
‘‘It’s a fantastic level of support for the pig industry.’’
Mr Connaughton said the development of vaccines and research into diseases that the Pig Specialist Centre could facilitate would only help enhance Australian pork’s clean reputation.
A newly completed rail trail through a wildlife haven near Murchison is proving popular with the region's cyclists, walkers and horseriders.
Perfect weather forecasted this weekend will please the many boating enthusiasts registered for the inaugural Lake Mulwala Boat Muster to be held on Saturday.
A dairy cow has died from the disease anthrax in the Tatura region.
Campaspe Shire still does not have an alternative to the Moama slipway more than two years after obtaining permits to build a dry dock at the Port of Echuca.
There was a sentence doing the rounds at the weekend’s Great Northern Show.
Vic Govt issues alert after dairy cow death in Tatura
Two local teenagers have formally apologised to the Finley community for destroying 14 trees in Finley's Railway Park.
St Mary’s Catholic Church in Heathcote has undergone extensive roof repairs due to increasing water damage.
Cobram and District Toy Library secretary Liz Stronge said she was ‘‘really happy’’ with the turnout of more than 100 people to the 25th birthday Playfest at Mivo Park on Saturday.
Strong swimmers off to Riverina carnival.
Bargain hunters were out in force at Tatura last week.
Betty Summer walks 6 kms in a round trip, three times a week to go to the gym. She hates people asking her age, but couldn't keep it secret when she hit the big nine-oh.
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