It has been estimated that if African Swine Fever was to reach our shores the impact could be in excess of $2.3 billion.
The disease is spreading around the world and dramatically impacting on the international pork industry. The worst hit has been China, with reports of the disease right across the country.
The disease has steadily moved across Europe. In Poland, the disease is believed to have infected feral pigs and it has been suggested that a wall be built to keep feral pigs out.
In Australia, we put enormous faith in our island status and to the credit of the government border surveillance has tightened.
The great unknown is our burgeoning feral pig population and wiping it out seems a Herculean task but must be confronted by more than just appointing a national feral pig coordinator. We need the assistance of science to provide the tools to disrupt the pig breeding cycle. We have seen the effect the disease has had on the provision of animal meats to the Chinese market particularly the jump of mutton returns to Australian producers.
It is fair to extrapolate that if the disease hits our pig population that the removal of pork from our retail shelves would drive up the price of beef, lamb and poultry. We must stand firmly behind our border controls with an unlimited budget.
The ongoing debate of the use of the word milk to describe plant-based products is seeing no resolution. It is interesting that at an international dairy symposium being held in Brussels next year included on the agenda will be a discussion on the latest scientific advances about milk originating from animals other than cows in the fields of human nutrition, science and technology.