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.
Two men charged over the armed robbery of a Shepparton service station have been remanded in custody until next week.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Echuca College students Calum Pearson, Luke Judd, Kiriana Epararma, Harriet Nilon, Kyle Melhuish and Stephanie Chong are heading to China.
A former Rochester resident is helping women with their confidence and their horses.
Accusations of bullying, disrespect and dangerous conduct.
And the school's best all-rounder for this year.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
District residents are being invited to enjoy Oktooberfest celebrations at Tooborac Hotel and Brewery.
Momentum builds for the greatest show in Cobram, with young and old expected to lap up family attractions in sunny conditions.
Water users have welcomed the governments' announcement of a $350 million package for new irrigation efficiency programs in NSW, but say water availability is in need of improvement.
Farmers and anyone interested in big boys’ toys will be fascinated to check out an unmanned helicopter in action at an Ardmona orchard.
Judge comments, If I were single, I'd marry this steak!
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