The Agriculture department says pigs were a biosecurity issue

Megan Hughes reports

9 August 2018

Article heading image for The Agriculture department says pigs were a biosecurity issue

The Department of Agriculture has responded to claims they wasted 12 pigs' lives by euthanising them on a boat in Cairns.

The local woman who brought the issue to light says it doesn't make sense why the pigs couldn't have been taken back to the farm in Innisfail.

Tanya (who doesn't want to be fully identified in case of repercussions) is questioning the departments processes.

"The boat was still docked, it was still tied up against Australian Land, and they wouldn't allow the pigs off so they could be given to someone else to be looked after," she said.

It's believed the livestock was bought by the Micronesian sailors on the boat to take back home, but the export was stopped by the Australian Government before they could leave.

A department spokesperson says "there are strict processes in place for the export of animals, to maintain Australia’s reputation as a reliable certifier of safe and quality goods. To have allowed this export would have led to animals of unknown health status and biosecurity risk presenting to a foreign country."

While Tanya agrees biosecurity is important, she doesn't agree with their decision

"We're constantly talking in this country about biosecurity and protecting our borders and not letting things in, which is fantastic and I totally agree with that. We have the most amazing ecosystem and we need to protect it but I do feel they [the government] are not opening their eyes to what's really going on," she said.

The spokesperson says the boat had previously shipped animals from foreign countries

"Which could have diseases exotic to Australia the animals became a biosecurity risk. They were humanely euthanased then deep buried to manage this risk," they said.

According to the department the captain didn't get a permit.

"Which means animals could not be examined prior to make sure they were fit for export, met import health requirements and that their travel arrangements would ensure their welfare.

The vessel hadn’t been approved by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to carry animals.

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