Precautions taken to tackle pig illness

Over 40,000 sows across the country are thought to be covered by AHDB Pork’s significant disease charter in a provision to tackle the porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) should it arrive in the UK.

AHDB runs the charter, an extension of the swine dysentery charter, on behalf of the Pig Health and Welfare Council.

“The aim of the charter is to share information quickly, making the control and elimination of the disease easier and faster,” explained AHDB Pork veterinary manager Martin Smith.

The virus causes dehydration and diarrhoea among sows and can be fatal in young animals, although it is much easier for older animals to recover.

Symptoms in sows include loose faeces and a loss of appetite, whereas piglets suffer from watery diarrhoea, dehydration and, ultimately, death.  

“It is part of a joined-up approach across industry which has proved extremely effective in Canada. Allied to this is a series of standard operating procedures, which have all been published on the AHDB Pork website. These tell people across the supply chain what their responsibilities are in the event of an outbreak and also define the lines of communication,” explained Smith.

Although a strong start for the charter, 40,000 sows only represents 10% of the national heard. “I would urge all producers to sign up, as the charter is for their benefit,” added Smith.

For farmers wishing to sign up, they can do so at

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