Pigs – transport

Information about the requirements for transporting pigs from one location to another.

Pigs must be transported using suitable and appropriate vehicles that are covered to avoid sunburn.

The minimum transport requirements must be met if pigs are to be transported for sale, to the abattoir or to another property:

  • property identification code (PIC) for both seller and purchaser
  • registered swine brand linked to PIC
  • original PigPass NVD or transported stock statement (TSS).

Pigs must be given adequate space that allows them to lie down during transport.

Approved activities Category
Loading and unloading animals onto transporters 3

From 1st February 2018, state and territory governments introduced mandatory reporting of all pig movements to the PigPass database. Failure to comply with the reporting requirements will result in a penalty notice.

In Australia, all pigs must be identified with brands or NLIS approved ear tags before being moved from your PIC. This applies to movements from another property where a change of ownership takes place, to sale yards, to abattoirs and to shows or events.

Brands are applied to pigs using a ‘slap brand’. This type of brand is a striker dipped in carbon based ink and leaves an impression or tattoo on the pig. It is advisable to tattoo/brand pigs just prior to transport.

Branding is done so that pigs can be linked back to the property they came from, for security and biosecurity reasons. The PigPass system records which brand(s) are being used on each property along with the mobs of pigs being moved.

In Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia a brand number will be issued to you by the relevant state authority (usually the DPI). In New South Wales, you must register your brand number, which is the last six digits of your PIC, with Local Land Services.

The primary responsibility for compliance rests with the owner of the pigs. It is an offence for selling agents to sell pigs that are not correctly identified. It is an offence for buyers of pigs to buy pigs that are not correctly identified.

Pigs cannot be lawfully sold at a saleyard without a PigPass NVD or TSS that has been fully and accurately completed. Farmers selling pigs intended for slaughter are advised to use the PigPass NVD.

It is a legal requirement that the person buying pigs through a saleyard must provide a destination PIC to the agent before the pigs leave the saleyard.

When transporting pigs, care must be taken to transport pigs in a manner that minimises stress, pain and suffering. Make sure pigs are fit, healthy, in good condition and be able to stand for extended periods of time prior to being selected for transport.

Pigs should always be handled quietly and patiently, especially in new environments and always moved with a stock board. If pigs show signs of stress including lying down, panting, trembling and a blotchy skin appearance, they should be allowed time to rest and relax before being transported or moved.

Pigs need to be transported using an appropriate vehicle to hold pigs. It is very important not to over crowd pigs when transporting them. Care must be taken to avoid transporting pigs during high temperatures, as they cannot sweat to regulate their body temperature, making them very susceptible to heat stress. Transporting them during hot or humid conditions can be very dangerous to the health of the pigs.

Transport should occur early in the morning or late in the afternoon and stocking densities should be lowered by 10% if the temperature is above 25°C.

Vehicles used for transport of pigs must be constructed from materials that allow thorough cleaning. Floors should be of a non-slip surface that does not injure hooves or legs. Pigs have very sensitive skin so transport vehicles must be covered.

It is important to have good knowledge of the disease status of animals prior to bringing them onto the school farm. This may involve vaccinations, parasite control and even blood tests where applicable. Advice from the local veterinarian or livestock officer should be sought.

It is a good idea to quarantine new pigs from existing pigs for a period of time. This should allow time for observation of any signs of illness or parasite infestations.


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