When feeding animals, owners must be aware that there are restrictions placed on the specific types of food you are allowed to give to your animals. These restrictions are put in place to ensure that feed is suitable for the needs of the animal AND to prevent the introduction and spread of serious diseases.
In Tasmania 'swill' is defined by the Animal Health Act 1995
as any material containing material of placental mammal origin (other than milk and milk by-products, properly rendered meat meal, or tallow).
Feeding swill to pigs is illegal in Tasmania and all Australian states and territories.
Swill feeding has been the cause of several exotic disease outbreaks, including the FMD epidemic in the UK in 2001 and is currently playing a major role in spreading ASF within and between countries.
Many exotic animal disease viruses are highly resistant to chilling, freezing and curing. Boiling swill may not destroy all disease organisms.
Restricted Animal Material (RAM)
Feeding Restricted Animal Materials (RAM) to ruminant animals (for example cattle, sheep, and goats) is also illegal in Australia. RAM is any animal product other than milk or milk protein, tallow and gelatin. Feeding RAM to cattle caused the outbreak of Mad Cow Disease (BSE) in the UK.
Care needs to be taken to not feed ruminants with poultry and fish food which may contain RAM.
The general public has an important role in maintaining Australia's freedom from exotic diseases. If you believe someone is feeding swill or RAM to livestock or someone is supplying swill to pig owners or RAM for feeding to ruminants, please report your concerns to the Department (contact details below).
It is of the utmost importance that we all play a part in keeping FMD, BSE, ASF and other exotic animal diseases out of Australia.
Further details about the national RAM requirements can be found on the Animal Health Australia webpage Australian Ruminant Feed Ban.
Food Waste - Recycling
Food waste is a growing problem in Australia with millions of tonnes of food discarded in landfill annually. Increased community interest in local food recycling includes the suggestion that more waste could be used to feed animals. What could go wrong?
These factsheets and posters contain important information about the dangers of feeding food waste to pigs and other ruminant livestock: