African swine fever (ASF) has already killed hundreds of millions of pigs across Asia.
There are videos of dead pigs lining city streets in China and it is estimated that one quarter of the world's pigs will be dead by the end of the year.
ASF is a highly infectious, contagious and fatal pig disease and it has already spread to Timor-Leste, less than 700 kilometres from Australia's northern border.
If ASF entered Australia, it would be absolutely devastating for our vibrant $1 billion pork industry.
It would threaten the lives of millions of pigs and the livelihoods of Australia's pork producers.
To prevent ASF infecting Australia, we must have the strictest biosecurity at our international airports and seaports.
We need higher penalties and stricter enforcement for travellers attempting to smuggle in pork products; domestic and international public awareness campaigns targeted at high-risk travellers; and increased investment in detection technology and biosecurity staffing at all ports of entry.
Investing in the most advanced technologies, training staff, and educating travellers won't just help us defend against ASF, it will protect all of our agricultural industries, native ecosystems, and human health against the myriad of diseases that threaten us now and into the future.
All pork producers, lifestyle farmers and pet pig owners must also tighten farm-level biosecurity, remain vigilant for the symptoms of ASF, stay in regular contact with their vet, and limit visitors onto farms, especially those who have recently travelled overseas.
If pig producers would like more information, I encourage them to visit the Australian Pork website, and if they have any concerns about the health of their pigs, I urge them to contact their vet without hesitation.
Tim Kingma, VFF Pig Group president