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Farmers Jailed Over Pig Semen Smuggled in Shampoo Bottles

Australian minister describes 'a disturbing disregard for the laws'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2019 3:58 PM CDT
Pigs stand in a barn at a pig farm in Jiangjiaqiao village in northern China's Hebei province, on May 8, 2019.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(Newser) – Two pig farmers have been jailed in Australia over their role in illegally importing pig semen disguised as shampoo. GD Pork managing director Torben Soerensen was sentenced to three years in prison; production manager Henning Laue was sentenced to two years. Both men were accused of aiding in a scheme in which major GD Pork shareholders smuggled semen from Danish boars into Australia on multiple occasions between May 2009 and March 2017, per the Guardian. The semen—which Laue recommended be put in shampoo or lotion bottles in passenger luggage—was then used to inseminate up to 199 sows. ABC Australia reports the scheme was confirmed through hair samples from 100 pigs and consulting with the Pig Research Centre in Denmark on the animals' genetics.

Danish sows are known to produce more piglets than their Australian counterparts, but biosecurity concerns have kept Australia from doling out permits to import pig genetics since 1995. "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," says the country's agriculture minister. Judge Troy Sweeney said the two men were "influenced to offend" by overseas investors. Danish pork producer and shareholder Henrik Enderlein allegedly did most of the smuggling, per ABC, which reports he's outside Australia's jurisdiction in the case. Still, the roles of Soerensen and Laue were "too serious, too blatant" to ignore, Sweeney said. Laue will be eligible for release in eight months, Soerensen in 18 months. GD Pork, which is in liquidation, was fined $500,000. (Read more pigs stories.)

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