Jail time and $500,000 fine for major biosecurity breaches

Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Minister for Agriculture

Torben Soerensen, Henning Laue and GD Pork Pty Ltd have been sentenced to serious penalties for illegally importing boar semen over eight years, putting Australia’s pork industry at serious risk.

Mr Soerensen received a sentence of three years imprisonment with a minimum of 18 months to serve before being eligible for parole.

Mr Laue received a sentence of two years imprisonment with a minimum of eight months to serve before being eligible for parole.

GD Pork received a fine of $500,000.

Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said the Australian Government takes any breach of biosecurity legislation seriously.

“This case shows a disturbing disregard for the laws that protect the livelihoods of Australia’s 2,700 pork producers, and the quality of the pork that millions of Australians enjoy each year,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The penalties handed down at the District Court of Western Australia today send a clear message that breaches of Australia’s biosecurity rules will not be tolerated.

“Torben Soerensen, Henning LAUE and GD Pork Pty Ltd were all found guilty of breaching section 67(3) of the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth) “illegal importation”, and section 186(4) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth) “Contravening conditions applying to conditionally non-prohibited goods brought or imported into Australian territory”.

“The court heard evidence that boar semen had been illegally imported from Denmark on a number of occasions between May 2009 and March 2017. The semen was used in GD Pork’s artificial breeding program and a number of breeding sows on its property were direct offspring of Danish boars.

“GD Pork imported the semen illegally in an attempt to get an unfair advantage over its competitors, through new genetics.

“These actions could have also exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and the community to serious biosecurity risk.

“Boar semen can potentially contain a number of exotic diseases, including Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRSV) which could devastate Australian breeding herds.

“Biosecurity controls exist for a reason. Importers and those within supply chains must comply. Those caught seeking to deliberately evade biosecurity controls will be punished.”

/Public Release. View in full here.