Pig Farmers Jailed Over Semen Smuggling Scandal
Two farmers from Western Australia have been jailed after being found guilty of smuggling pig semen into Australia in shampoo bottles.
WA pork producer and managing director at GD Pork Torben Soerensen, 39, has been sentenced to three years in prison, and production manager, Henning Laue, 74, to two years after they pleaded guilty to a number of charges relating to the illegal importation of Danish pig sperm.
GD Pork has also been fined $500,000 for the crimes, however, the company is currently in liquidation.
During the sentencing hearing, the Perth District court heard details of Soerensen and Laue's elaborate plot to get the semen to Australia. The pair orchestrated the collection of the semen from Danish boars and organised Danish nationals to smuggle the substance into Australia in shampoo and lotion bottles.
The criminal semen smuggling operation was started by GD Pork's Danish-based parent company Pork Australia ApS back in 2009, but Soerensen didn't get involved until 2012.
The company wanted to introduce foreign DNA into its breeding program as Danish sows produce an average of seven more piglets a year than Australian ones.
Over the course of the scheme, 199 sows were artificially inseminated with the Danish semen at the Pinjarra piggery about 80 kilometres south of Perth.
Around 2,450 piglets were born with Danish genes. The piggery's stats showed that female pigs were giving birth to an average of 6.5 more piglets in each litter.
The breeding program at GD Pork breached Australian biodiversity guidelines which require pigs to be in 'closed genetic herds'. This means that the use of foreign genes is strictly prohibited. This helps prevent the spread of disease.
Soerensen received a minimum jail term of 18 months, while Laue was imprisoned for a minimum of eight months.
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