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.
Maude St Mall will be transformed into a winter wonderland of bargains and entertainment from today for the annual Shepparton Winter City Market.
Mulwala Thirds full forward Gus McMillan kicked his 100th goal for the season on Saturday.
Murchison and Tatura SES units were two of 26 Victoria State Emergency Service volunteer units to receive an allocation of new equipment this week as part of the annual AAMI equipment handover program.
Echuca’s Palace Hotel is to receive a five-star makeover from new owners Barry and Jan Donchi.
Leading Senior Constable Chris Goyne has joined the team at the Rochester police station.
Girgarre Primary School students relate what the best book is they have read and why.
Fundraising for prostate cancer would seem to be a natural fit for the Australian Defence Force.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Aommunity fair and truck show will be hosted by Heathcote Primary School next month.
Statewide roads and public transport study calls for increased governemnt funding, sparks memories of Cobram passenger rail service.
Deni Rovers fourths mentor Brendan East has been dubbed Junior Coach of the Year for Picola & District Football League's north-west division.
A $100 million investment program will recommence following parent company Coca-Cola Amatil's decision today to invest $78 million into SPC Ardmona.
Vale Pat Gardner, 1916 - 2014 whose last wish was for the Benalla ceramic mural to be listed by the National Trust.
- Benalla unveils its refurbished old shire offices which are now the Civic Centre
- Support Light the Night in Benalla next month
- Poppy Smith celebrates her second birthday, having survived a heart defect.
- Benalla Rural City Council announces intention to re-appoint CEO Tony McIlroy
- Benalla Art Gallery appoints new director
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