A local butcher who fed swill to his pigs has been fined $2,000.
Appearing in the Bacchus Marsh Magistrates Court on September 18, the accused pleaded guilty to feeding and allowing access to swill.
Swill is the traditional name for food scraps or waste that contains or has come into contact with meat from a mammal.
A prohibited waste, it is illegal to feed swill to pigs in all states and territories as it can carry exotic diseases.
Officers from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) visited the man’s property in Ballan and found approximately 30 pigs confined to two paddocks, the court heard.
DEDJTR Regional Manager Agriculture Services Stephanie Andreata said the paddocks contained several bones and two whole skulls still containing soft fresh tissue.
The bones and skulls were seized, laboratory tested and proved to be mammalian material.
Ms Andreata said swill feeding had been identified as the most likely way for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) to infect livestock in Victoria.
“In 2001 in the UK, swill containing the FMD virus was illegally fed to pigs on a farm. Plumes of virus then spread and infected sheep on an adjoining farm.” she said.
“Not showing any signs of the disease, the sheep were traded at a local market, subsequently spreading the disease all over Britain.”
She said millions of livestock were slaughtered in an effort to eradicate the disease.
Magistrate Cynthia Toose said the offence could have had significant repercussions for livestock industries.
Prosecutor Adrian Serratore told the court that research undertaken demonstrated that a medium sized incursion of FMD had the potential to cost the economy $50 billion in containment, eradication and effects on export markets.
The accused was fined $2,000 without conviction and costs of $125.87.
First appeared in The Moorabool News.