Two West Australian pig farmers have pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to the illegal importation of Danish pig semen.
The court heard evidence that the boar semen – which was concealed in shampoo bottles – had been illegally imported on a number of occasions between May 2009 and March 2017.
The semen was used in GD Pork’s artificial breeding programme and a number of breeding sows on its property were direct offspring of Danish boars.
Torben Soerensen received a sentence of three years imprisonment with a minimum of 18 months to serve before being eligible for parole.
Henning Laue received a sentence of two years imprisonment with a minimum of eight months to serve before being eligible for parole; GD Pork received a fine of $500,000 (approximately €447,327).
Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said: “This case shows a disturbing disregard for the laws that protect the livelihoods of Australia’s 2,700 pork producers, and the quality of the pork that millions of Australians enjoy each year.”
“The penalties handed down at the District Court of Western Australia today send a clear message that breaches of Australia’s biosecurity rules will not be tolerated.
“GD Pork imported the semen illegally in an attempt to get an unfair advantage over its competitors, through new genetics.
“These actions could have also exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and the community to serious biosecurity risk.
She stressed that boar semen can potentially contain a number of exotic diseases, including Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRSV) which could “devastate Australian breeding herds”.
“Biosecurity controls exist for a reason. Importers and those within supply chains must comply. Those caught seeking to deliberately evade biosecurity controls will be punished.”