Pig owners are reminded that Christmas, like any other time of the year, is no time to feed leftovers — or swill — to their animals.
Victoria’s chief veterinary officer Charles Milne said swill was the traditional name for food waste containing meat or imported milk products, including scraps, that have been in contact with these foods.
‘‘Swill feeding is illegal in Australia because meat and dairy products can be infected with serious diseases that can be passed on to pigs,’’ Dr Milne said.
‘‘The cause of the devastating 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom, during which millions of animals had to be destroyed, was the feeding of improperly treated animal products.
‘‘The viruses that can cause serious diseases of livestock, including FMD, are not destroyed by routine chilling, freezing, curing or cooking.’’
Australia is free from FMD and it is estimated an outbreak would impact the national economy by up to $50billion over a 10-year period.
‘‘In Victoria meat, meat products, imported dairy products and any food that has come into contact with these foods is prohibited and must not be fed to pigs,’’ Dr Milne said.
‘‘Some recent media articles have wrongly suggested that feeding waste food to pigs is a green way of getting rid of food waste.’’