TWO people and a pork production company have faced court today over charges they illegally imported pig semen into WA over a number of years.
Blythewood company GD Pork Pty Ltd was charged with 12 counts of aggravated illegal importation and four counts of bringing or importing conditionally non-prohibited goods into Australian territory.
Henning Laue was charged with seven counts of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commissioning of an offence.
Torben Soerensen was charged with 11 counts of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commissioning of an offence.
The next hearing will be a committal mention on January 18 in Perth Magistrates Court.
The case was first uncovered in January 2017 and has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
Illegal imports of pig genetics can carry significant risks.
This includes porcine reproduction and respiratory syndrome and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).
It has been estimated that FMD could cost Australia around $50 billion over a decade if it was to arrive here.
These imports can also increase the risk of African swine fever arriving in Australia.
This disease has no known cure and is another major threat to Australia’s $5.3 billion pork industry.
Currently the maximum penalty for an ‘illegal importation to obtain a commercial advantage’ is 10 years jail and/or a $420,000 fine.
For a corporation the maximum penalty is a $2.1 million fine.