NPA calls on government to tackle ASF

The National Pig Association (NPA) is urging the government to help tackle the problem of African swine fever (ASF) by stepping up security at border posts.

In a letter to the food and farming minister George Eustice, NPA chairman Richard Longthorp expressed his concern for the disease and stressed that it could lose exports in China and other non-EU countries if the disease spreads.

ASF has advanced from Russia and Belarus into Lithuania and can survive in raw, cured, cooked or frozen meats for months, which is why Longthorp is calling for a leaflet campaign and in-flight announcements on planes arriving from Lithuania.

Longthorp said: “The United Kingdom pig industry is just emerging from its own recession created by high feed prices, and to be struck with African swine fever now would be a blow from which some would not recover.

“We—that is the pig industry and Government—must do all we can to ensure African swine fever, or any other exotic disease, does not spread to the United Kingdom.”

Although ASF is harmless to humans, it is fatal to pigs, which is why the cost of the disease spreading could be vast.

“The loss of exports valued at £350m would be devastating to the pig industry, a loss to United Kingdom trade, and would undermine all the great work that the pig industry and Defra have put into developing export markets for British pork and high-performance breeding pigs,” Longthorp added.

Last week, Bpex encouraged pig producers to take certain measures to prevent disease spread by protecting their herds from ASF.

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