Michael Staines
Michael Staines

18.00 14 Aug 2019


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Two men have been jailed for smuggling Danish pig semen into Australia in shampoo bottles.

Danish pigs are known to be more fertile than their Australian colleagues and the men were attempting to use the semen to breed a "super sow" at their Western Australian pig farm.

A number of sows at the farm were found to be direct offspring of Danish boars.

The company behind the farm, Danish-owned GD Pork, has also been fined AU$500,000 ($302,000).

Pig semen Pigs at the ecological outdoor swine farm in Holstebro, Denmark, 28-09-2019. Image: Vadim Pacajev /Sipa USA

Biosecurity

Australia has strict biosecurity laws regarding European pigs - with African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease viewed as major threats.

The country's Minster for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said boar semen can potentially contain a number of exotic diseases which could devastate Australian breeding herds.

Pig semen

The boar semen was smuggled in to Australia in shampoo bottles carried in passenger luggage on a number of occasions between May 2009 and March 2017.

At least 200 pigs were artificially inseminated over the years.

The company's sole director, 39-year-old Torben Soerensen was sentenced to three years in jail with no parole for 18 months.

Breeding manager, 74-year-old Henning Laue was sentenced to two years with no parole for eight months.

Minister McKenzie said the penalties show that Australian biosecurity breaches will not be tolerated.

"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," she said.

GD Pork

She said the company was trying to get and unfair advantage over their rivals.

"These actions could have also exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and the community to serious biosecurity risk," she said.

"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."

The company has gone into liquidation since the scandal was revealed


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