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5  pigs standing in front of a hut with an overlay stating ‘Backyard Biosecurity, it’s up to all of us’ and ‘Agriculture Victoria’
Edition 11: Pigs
In this edition:

Whether you are keeping pigs to bring home the bacon, as a commercial enterprise or even as pets, you play a vital role in protecting the Australian pork industry and animal welfare.

As a pig owner there are a few must dos for you to meet your biosecurity and welfare responsibilities.

Let’s cover these off…

Feeding pigs
What you cannot feed your pigs
Pigs eating grain

To ensure the health of your pigs it is best for them to have a balanced diet and there are specific commercial feeds available that are designed to meet their nutritional needs.

What is prohibited pig feed?
Prohibited pig feed (formerly known as swill) is food scraps or food waste that contains meat, or which has been in contact with, meat or meat products.

Why is feeding pigs prohibited pig feed banned?

  • The feeding of prohibited pig feed to pigs is banned in Australia.
  • The feeding of prohibited pig feed has caused outbreaks of serious animal diseases overseas.
  • The risk is from infectious disease, particularly exotic viral diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, African Swine Fever (ASF) and classical swine fever.
  • These diseases can be introduced through feeding pigs infected or contaminated meat or meat products which may be imported from a country where the diseases are present.
  • It is not acceptable to assume that meat or meat products in the food waste that you have is safe in this respect.
  • The viruses of concern are often not destroyed by chilling, freezing, cooking or curing.

Foods that are banned
Meat, meat products and any food that is served on the same plate or that has come into contact with meat is prohibited feed and must not be fed or supplied for feeding to pigs.

Dairy products from overseas are also banned, unless legally imported for the purpose of feeding livestock.

Food that cannot be fed to pigs include:

  • salad and vegetables that has been served with meat
  • butcher's shop waste
  • pies, pasties, deli foods — including bacon, cheese (from overseas) and salads that contain meat.

If in doubt, do not feed leftover food to your pigs.

Read more about prohibited pig feed.

What you can feed your pigs

Pigs can be fed:

  • commercially prepared pig rations
  • grain
  • fruit and vegetable waste from markets
  • bread that does not contain any meat material (for example bacon or ham)
  • milk
  • milk product or by-products that originate from a factory or milk processing premises (licensed under the Dairy Act 2000).

If in doubt, do not feed leftover food to your pigs.

Read more about pig health and welfare.

Watch animation on what you can feed your pigs

Why is biosecurity important for pig owners?
Pigs in paddock

The biggest threat to the health and welfare of all pigs and the Australian pork industry’s sustainability is an outbreak of an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD). An EAD outbreak can have a devastating effect on pig production and pigs kept at hobbies farms, schools, sanctuaries and those kept as pets.

Exotic diseases that may start with an infection in a pig herd can potentially pose a risk to other animals and people. Foot-and-mouth disease is an example as it can quickly spread between different cloven hoofed animal populations.

Exotic diseases will also economically impact the agriculture sector including lowering the market value of the pigs and impacting on international trade.

These diseases are not currently in Australia and include African Swine Fever (ASF) and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). ASF and FMD continue to spread globally causing significant impacts on the health and welfare of animals, mental health and wellbeing of people, profitability of businesses, food supply, and the employment of people throughout the supply chain including producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, feed supply businesses and transporters.

Although strict border biosecurity protocols help to keep Australia’s pigs safe from many diseases, farm-level biosecurity is one of the most important lines of defence.

How can I protect my pigs?

Everyone who owns, cares for, or works with a pig or pigs should understand biosecurity, the risks, and how they can implement practices to protect the health and wellbeing of their pigs.

Following some simple biosecurity practices can help keep your pigs happy, healthy and disease free while also assisting you to be prepared for an EAD incursion like ASF and FMD.

Safeguarding the genetics

This short video shows how Nat and Jono practice good biosecurity on their regenerative farm in Blampied. They have British White cattle, Berkshire pigs and Finn sheep on 148 acres of rich volcanic soils.

Watch the video to learn how Nat is keeping her pigs safe.

Brookland Farms: Woman and man (Nat and Jono) standing behind pigs
Update your farm biosecurity plan
Person typing on laptop with Agriculture Victoria's biosecurity home page shown

Remember to review and update your biosecurity plan annually. Biosecurity is about managing risks. Each property is different and faces different challenges, so it is critical to assess the biosecurity risks that are most likely to impact your property.

A farm biosecurity plan is a practical way of showing how you are preventing the introduction of pests, disease, weeds and contaminants to your property, spreading around your property, or spreading from your property.

A farm biosecurity plan should:

  • Define your responsibilities;
  • Outline the disease protocols used on your property;
  • Ensure property information and biosecurity measures are quickly accessible; and
  • Enable you to easily communicate your biosecurity procedures to others.

There are no right or wrong answers when developing a farm biosecurity plan – the only bad biosecurity plan is the one you don’t have

A biosecurity plan toolkit has been developed to guide pig producers in preparing robust biosecurity plans. The tools are designed to suit all levels of pig owners from pet pigs to farm stays, hobby farms and own consumption and all commercial producers.

For commercial producers this plan will also meet the requirements of the updated standards under APIQ®, the premier quality assurance program for pig producers in Australia. APIQ® covers 90 percent of Australia’s pork production and provides customers with assurance that high on-farm management, food safety, animal welfare, biosecurity, and traceability standards are in place.

Free worm testing program
Close up of two pigs' faces

Along with helping to develop a biosecurity plan, Agriculture Victoria staff are offering free parasite testing of pig herds for all pig owners, regardless of how many you have. The property visits and sampling are undertaken voluntarily.

Without management, worms can cause illness and weight loss in pigs. Pigs are usually infected through other pigs or pig faeces such as off a dirty truck or livestock transport. Dirty equipment, such as feeders from other pig properties, can also be a source of infection.

The testing across the state will help Agriculture Victoria gather data about the extent of worms in Victoria’s pig herds.

What happens at the visit?
A member of our animal health and welfare team will be in touch to arrange a convenient time to visit. The visit will include taking pig faecal samples for worm testing and taking you through the Pig Biosecurity Plan Template. The visit may take a couple of hours. The templates are available on the Animal Health Australia’s Farm Biosecurity website.

The samples will be sent to a laboratory for testing. You will then be provided with the results and some information about how to manage worms.

To obtain help with developing a biosecurity plan and take part in the free parasite testing contact Di Phillips at

This project has been co-funded by the Swine Compensation fund until June 2024.

Rules and regulations

Apply for or amend a Property Identification Code (PIC) online


Victorian law requires people to have a Property Identification Code (PIC) for the properties on which they intend to graze or keep any number of livestock.

Register for a free Property Identification Code (PIC). Update your PIC if you make changes to the numbers or types of livestock on your property, change your phone number or email address or sell your land or relocate.

Use National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) Pigs


In Victoria, pigs must be identified before being moved off a property with either a tag or tattoo brand, depending on their body weight. This includes pigs that are given away or are kept as pets.

  • Less than 25kg — must be tagged
  • More than 25kg — must be tattooed.

For more information visit NLIS Pigs

View the video on tagging and tattoo branding requirements for pigs

Record pig movements on PigPass


PigPass is a national tracking system that provides information on the movements of pigs in Australia. It is free to register with PigPass. It is designed to link pigs to properties via:

If a pig or pigs are moving to a property with a different PIC, their movement must be recorded. Whether you have one pet pig or hundreds - you must register with PigPass and record movements of pigs on the PigPass database.

The person receiving the pig/s must record the movement on the PigPass database within 48 hours of arrival at the new property.

This includes:

  • pet pigs
  • pigs being given away
  • pigs traded through online selling platforms such as Gumtree and buy, swap, and sell platforms

Livestock legislation in Victoria


Anyone who owns, manages, or works with livestock must comply with certain laws, standards and Codes of Practice. Visit livestock legislation in Victoria for more information.

Movement Documentation


A movement document must be completed by the owner or person responsible for the husbandry of the livestock when they move. For more information see: Movement documentation.

PigPass movement documents are accessible after registration.

Quality Assurance Program


APIQ®, is the premier quality assurance program for pig producers in Australia. APIQ® covers 90 percent of Australia’s pork production and provides customers with assurance that high on-farm management, food safety, animal welfare, biosecurity, and traceability standards are in place.

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Agriculture Victoria

Further information

Contacting Agriculture Victoria

Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or

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