This page will focus on the biosecurity risks that are potentially going to be encountered by pig hunters in the field. Active hunters have a duty to be aware of threats to our natural and agricultural environments and are likely to be the first reporters of biosecurity breaches. This page will provide information and links in relation to existing or emerging biosecurity threats to help equip hunters with the information they need to be an effective contributor to Australia's biosecurity network.
African Swine Fever
African swine fever (ASF) is a contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs. Since 2007, the disease has spread throughout the world. Affected countries in our region include Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. There is no registered vaccine for ASF and the disease kills about 80% of the pigs it infects.
ASF is an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD).
ASF has never occurred in Australia. However, its changing distribution means it is a significant biosecurity threat to our country. An outbreak would be devastating for our pig industry and also damage our trade and the economy.
The latest information on the global ASF situation can be accessed via the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).
Lumpy Skin Disease
Australia is free from lumpy skin disease (LSD) and has never had an incursion of the disease, according to World Organisation for Animal Health standards.
LSD is a serious viral disease that primarily affects cattle and buffalo. The disease can result in animal welfare issues and significant production losses. LSD is a disease of animals, not humans, it is not transmitted to humans by eating affected meat.
LSD is carried by live animals and reproductive material. It can also be spread by contaminated equipment and biting insects or parasites, such as flies, mosquitoes and ticks.
A cow showing raised nodules on its hide which is a typical sign of infection with LSD. (Image: Michel Bellaiche)
A cow after the scabs have fallen off leaving large holes in the hide
Clinical signs of LSD
The Outbreak website has advice on what to do if you suspect an emergency animal disease in animals you see while hunting.
Hunters should be aware of the signs of LSD in cattle and buffalo:
- Firm, raised nodules or lumps up to 5 cm in diameter can develop on any part of the body. They are often on the skin around the head, neck, genitals and limbs.
- The centre of the nodule dies, after which the resultant scabs may fall out, leaving large holes in the skin, that may become infected.
- Swelling of the limbs, brisket, genitals and lymph nodes may occur.
- Watering eyes.
- Increased nasal and salivary secretions.
- Loss of appetite and reluctance to move.
Some animals with the disease may not show signs.
Disease risk to northern Australia
Australia’s north is particularly vulnerable to LSD because the disease can spread through biting flies, mosquitoes and ticks.
People residing or working across Australia’s north, including cattle and buffalo producers, vets, hunters and local Indigenous communities, must be vigilant for LSD and aware of biosecurity requirements.
- Do not move live animals, meat and dairy products, untanned hides or skins, other animal products or soil between the Torres Strait Protected Zone and the Torres Strait Permanent Biosecurity Monitoring Zone, or to mainland Australia without a permit and an inspection by a Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry biosecurity officer.
- Keep a watch for planes or boats in your region that may be carrying animals or animal products onboard.
- Look out for food and garbage washed up on the beach that could carry pests or disease.