Pig body issues swill feed warning

The National Pig Association (NPA) has used the anniversary of the UK foot-and-mouth outbreak to remind pig producers of the risks of swill feeding.

The 13th anniversary of Britain’s most serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease comes in the same week that African swine fever was reported in Poland, and the NPA has taken the opportunity to stress the importance of the swill-feeding ban.

Foot-and-mouth was confirmed on 20 February 2001 in swill-fed pigs in Essex. The NPA said that some estimates put the total cost of the outbreak to the nation at £10bn, with 10 million animals being shot. It added that the government later confirmed the likeliest source of the infection was pigs being fed contaminated meat.

Chairman Richard Longthorp said: “A carelessly discarded ham sandwich is all it takes, or someone breaking the law and feeding kitchen leftovers to pigs.

“If anyone thinks we are over-stating the risk, let them remember what happened on 20 February 2001 and the lives and businesses that were ruined as a result.”

The association also urged the government to be vigilant in preventing passengers bringing illegal meat imports into Britain, especially from high-risk countries.

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