Two farmers have been jailed for smuggling Danish animal semen inside shampoo bottles to create a ‘super pigs’.
GD Pork managing director Torben Soerensen, 39, and production manager Henning Laue, 74, pleaded guilty to multiple charges at Perth District Court and were sentenced to three and two years in prison respectively.
The smuggling operation ran between 2009 and 2017, with as many as 199 sows inseminated in the process, according to ABC News.
The managing director of GD Pork Torben Soerensen, 39, (left) and its production manager Henning Laue, 74, (right) plead guilty to multiple charges at Perth District Court and were sentenced to three and two years in prison
Danish sows are said to birth an average of 32 piglets a year compared to 26 in Australia, a genetic advantage the pair deemed worth the risk.
The court heard Danish pork producer and Pork Australia shareholder ApS Henrik Enderlein smuggled the semen inside shampoo and hand lotion bottles during commercial flights to Australia.
The smugglers were able to avoid detection from security officers.
The court heard Soerensen started participating in transport and artificial insemination of the pigs from 2012.
His lawyer claimed Soerensen was only the face of the smuggling ring that was run by Danish investors.
Laue originally migrated from Denmark to WA in 2014 with prosecutors claiming suggestions that he wasn’t previously aware of the smuggling operations were ridiculous.
When sentencing the pair Judge Sweeney said they were ‘influenced to offend’ by investors overseas but their breaching of Australian quarantine laws were ‘too serious, too blatant, and too sustained’ to ignore.
The smuggling ring was first exposed by the Agriculture Department that discovered several emails regarding the transporting of the semen.
Danish sows are said to birth an average of 32 piglets a year compared to 26 in Australia, a genetic advantage the pair deemed worth the risk
Authorities were tipped off in February 2017 and investigators verified the pigs foreign DNA before the men were arrested.
The transporting of pig genetics has been banned since 1995 due to several highly contagious diseases including swine flu that threatened Australia’s $5.3billion pork industry.
A disease of particular concern was Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, also known as pig plague, but testing revealed the piglets were not contaminated and would not need to be destroyed.
GD Pork was fined $500,000 for the smuggling however the company has since gone into liquidation and come under new ownership.
Soerensen will be able to apply for release after 18 months while Laue will only have to wait eight months.