Australia: Pig hunters spreading disease
"Diseases such as Japanese encephalitis and foot and
mouth may be spread by recreational hunters who are moving feral pigs
illegally," say researchers in Australia.
According to Dr Peter Spencer of Murdoch University, the hunters are
obstructing plans to control diseases among the population over 20 million feral
pigs. "The threat of disease to them is enormous. Diseases such as Japanese
encephalitis, which they are known to carry, has killed humans,".
Through various investigations,
Spencer identified pigs from several different clans in the same area of western
Australia. These clans usually do not mix with each other, which suggests that
they may have been gathered kilometres away by recreational hunters to
"Moving these animals is sinister as diseases can be easily transmitted. It
is a major threat from a biosecurity point of view," he said.
Proper tagging and prosecution for illegal transporters should be
Dr Mike Bond of Animal Health Australia
refers to the illegal transport of feral pigs as a 'nightmare'. He does not
believe that policing is realistic due to the geographical aspect involved.
For him, the way forward is modifying emergency response plans and
guidelines as more understanding about the epidemiology of diseases becomes
Murdoch University Perth
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