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African Swine Fever risks genetic diversity of pig populations globally

dangers of africa swine fever and how to prevent it biosecurity

We’ve all seen the awful images of thousands of pigs being destroyed across Asia recently from countries that have been hit with African Swine Fever (ASF) and it is not only devastating for their agricultural producers, it threatens the food security of those nations. Small scale farmers are the hardest hit as they can lose their entire herd in one day.

This isn’t only a global crisis in terms of food production. It also has widespread implications for the genetic diversity of pigs around the world as up to one quarter of the world’s pigs have been culled by September 2019 to try and halt the spread of the disease.

Australia has been lucky so far and African Swine Fever has not been detected in Australian pig herds. However, two Western Australian men were jailed very recently for illegally smuggling boar semen from overseas through our airports – and they have been doing it since at least 2009.  ASF was detected in Europe as early as 2007.  It would only take one batch of infected semen to wipe out most of our domestic herds as well.

Imports of pork from affected countries have been restricted as the disease can also be spread through infected meat.  But we’ve all seen the TV shows where tourists are found trying to bring all sorts of biosecurity hazards in their suitcases – and those are just the people that get caught on camera at airports.

NSW DPI Biosecurity says:

“East Timor has become the latest Asian country to be hit with African swine fever, following China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines.

ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs.

Australia is currently free of ASF but meat products containing these pathogens may be illegally imported into Australia undetected by quarantine.

Feeding food scraps ‘swill’ that has been in contact with these products may lead to serious diseases in pigs including foot and mouth disease and African and classical swine fevers.

Banning the feeding of prohibited food waste to pigs and ruminants provides an important defence against these and other serious livestock diseases to Australia.

For more information, visit

So, Vivsters, for the sake of our farmers who are already struggling so much to survive, for the sake of our own national food security and the global effort to feed the world and keep the peace, and for the sake of science and strong genetic diversity in all the world’s species – be alert, be a little be alarmed, be informed

and spread the word about how vitally important biosecurity is to the future of all nations.

post by miss vivi at dissection connection

3 Oct 2019

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Funny Bone: why if we didn’t laugh, we’d cry (or, where are my hearts??)

So, just when we thought we’d ferreted out all the ways that supply could possibly be interrupted we get thrown another doozy this week.  Mr Vivi duly arrived early to work this morning and threw open the cold room door expecting boxes and boxes of lamb hearts to be waiting for him in there.

What he actually found in there was…… nothing.

So, on the phone to the supplier it was.

It turns out that the wild weather off Melbourne last week that led to a bit of a catastrophe with the Spirit of Tasmania breaking its moorings and smashing up the dock also led to a bit of a catastrophe in the world of The Meat Men.

No ships between Melbourne and Tasmania mean no Tasmanian lamb to the mainland either … or their hearts.  So here we sit, Australia Day and the first day of school almost upon us and we are lamb-less.  It’s un-Australian! #funnynotfunny

And that, Vivsters, is why if we didn’t laugh we’d cry.





18 Jan 2016

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Every family needs a farmer

gympie beef and bean farm
Our neighbour grows beef and beans. This is the view of his farm from our back verandah.

It’s the Australian Year of the Farmer – and every family needs a farmer.  This family in particular needs farmers.

We live in the country.  Our property is surrounded by beef, dairy, macadamia, banana, deer and small crops farms.  Slowly but surely these farms are dwindling in size and variety as town moves out and the career farmers move on.  A local abattoir has recently closed and properties running a few pigs and cattle are now left without a nearby facility to have them slaughtered for their family meat.  Their choice, now, is to pay to have them transported over a longer distance to another abattoir, hire an on-farm butcher to come and do the job on the property or not bother growing their own meat.

If I hadn’t moved to Gympie Dissection Connection would not exist.  That’s no exaggeration.  Gympie is in the perfect geographical position to get good quality stock, get it packaged and get it on the road – and this is where I met Mr Vivi ♥  The closure of small and medium sized abattoirs threatens our ability to source good specimens for you.  You know how difficult it is to get stock out of the really big export abattoirs and that’s because they are under much more pressure to produce more meat in less time in order to remain viable as a business.

Since I started the business we have been buying almost all of our meat from local butchers and I can tell you the quality is head and shoulders above the meat I used to buy at the big supermarkets.  Home smoked bacon and ham, handmade sausages, t-bones from a beast that came from a local farm that the butcher could give me directions to if I wanted to visit, duck dressed at the abattoir and cooked in my kitchen on the same day – there’s nothing quite like it. And the value for money at the butcher is incredible.  We often buy a quarter of a beast or an entire pig and share it with another family.  Where else are you going to get Black Angus beef t-bones or free range shoulder ham on the bone for about $6.00/kg?

When you buy specimens from Dissection Connection you are keeping countless numbers of families afloat.  The meat industry supports Mr Vivi and I, the growers, the butchers, truck drivers, slaughtermen, admin staff, cleaners, electricians, plumbers, engineers and even the public servants that regulate the industry – just to name a few.

Abattoirs keep small towns alive.  They provide full time employment, apprenticeships and traineeships for people that would otherwise have to move to the city.  They bring people to regional towns that would otherwise not be able to grow and thrive.  And they keep you in meat for the barbecue.

Every family needs a farmer.  Every family.  When you buy specimens from us you are are buying 100% home grown Australian produce – not specimens chemically treated and imported from America.  Well done you!  Now – how about going one step further and grabbing some meat from the local butcher and having a barbecue with your mates this weekend?

Miss Vivi

ps. there are some great classroom resources on the Australian Year of the Farmer website


seven days without beef makes one weak
Australian beef growers bumper sticker on a ute I pulled up behind at the servo. The man in the background is the beef grower.
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Eye’ll take a bucketful

Eyes by Salvatore Vuono

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

So, where do eyes come from? Miss Vivi has them in stock all the time, so for you, getting them is easy. She orders them in lots of 100’s or 1000’s and a bit of work is required here.

In the beginning, a lot of abattoirs flatly refused to supply them due to disruption of work flow and OHS issues. You see, a big abattoir putting through say 1000 head a day is running at capacity. They don’t normally cut eyes out; they usually go down the chute with the head into the rendering plant. The floor manager needs to take a staff member out of production and implement procedure in accordance with a specific risk analysis to get the eyes. As far as production goes, there’s more money in rib fillet or bacon, so why would they bother?

Because Mr Vivi has a way with the meat men, he’s convinced them to go through the above procedure to extract this product. The cost is we have to order 1000’s of the slippery suckers at a go.

I had the opportunity to talk to one of the floor mangers after our last order and he admitted it’s not his favourite job. It’s a bit fiddly, a bit dangerous, there’s an extra bucket on the floor (for the eyes) that can get in the way. You see, an abattoir is a regimented production line. There is a set procedure for removing the commercial items (tongue, cheek meat etc.) out of the head when they are on the head chain (stock moves through the floor on mechanised lines or chains). Commercial items in turn are placed on conveyors that whisk them off for packaging, so a bucket on the floor is not a usual risk.

So when you ask your butcher for 30 eyes and he can’t do it for you, you know it’s possibly not for his want to help you, but because the abattoir’s not going to drop knives to cut a few out for you. So all you have to do to have as many eyes as you want delivered to your door is fax or email an order to Miss Vivi and she’ll take care of the rest.

Mr Vivi