A qualitative study of the management and biosecurity practices of 13 interviewed pig owners selling via informal means in New South Wales, Australia

N. Schembri, P. K. Holyoake, M. Hernández-Jover, J. A L M L Toribio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is increasing interest in the trading practices of producers who market pigs at live auction in Australia and the potential for infectious disease establishment and spread. The practices that underpin the commercial pork industry in Australia are well known. However, little is known about informal movements of pigs in Australia, and the biosecurity risks associated with pig production enterprises that utilise these methods of trade. The aim of this study was to qualitatively evaluate the biosecurity and pig-keeping practices of owners who trade pigs informally for Foot and Mouth Disease and Classical Swine Fever exposure and spread. Interviews were conducted with 13 pig owners who trade via informal means between April and June 2009. Information provided by producers was able to be validated for the six interviews conducted on-farm. There was limited application of recommended biosecurity practices on-farm and few kept health and management records. All interviewees reared other livestock species, such as ruminants and/or poultry, as well as pigs. Most interviewed owners claimed to quarantine introduced pigs from the main herd; however, few complied with industry recommendations. The results of this study suggest that pig owners (n ≤ 13 interviewed) who currently trade their pigs informally pose few threats for the introduction of emergency animal disease. Pig keepers largely obtained their pig feed from reputable sources and appeared to have a sound understanding of swill feeding. However, the lack of on-farm biosecurity, variable quarantine practices and the failure to keep health records could play a role in the spread of an emergency animal disease if it was to be introduced. Further work is being undertaken to determine, qualitatively, the risk associated with the management practices undertaken by informal pig traders and Foot and Mouth Disease and Classical Swine Fever introduction and spread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-862
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Production Science
Volume50
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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