Pig producers urged to listen to abattoir reports

The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) Pork division is reminding pig producers that abattoir reports can help them to fend off “invisible” diseases. 

The levy board warned that producers could be unnecessarily wasting time and money on treating conditions “in the dark”, so to speak. However, the answer to some issues could be found in abattoir reports.

“Some producers may have the mantra that what they don’t see won’t hurt them, but this isn’t the case, as subclinical diseases are prevalent on many farms and can have a big impact on both a unit’s physical and financial performance,” commented Emma Bailey-Beech, AHDB Pork’s food safety project manager.

“Subclinical diseases present a challenge, because there are no visible signs that an infection is present, making them hard to detect. Historically, producers had no way of understanding the levels of subclinical diseases pressure that their unit was under. However, this changed with the introduction of the British Pig Health Scheme (BPHS), in 2005.

“The health monitoring scheme screens pigs at slaughter for incidence and severity of animal disease on member farms and I’d urge producers to take advantage of this service and analyse their herds’ post-mortem data.”

BPHS will be phased out from March 2017, although producers will receive similar reports based on Collection and Communication of Inspection Results (CCIR) from the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) meat inspectors in the abattoir.

AHDB Pork holds BPHS health data for thousands of pigs that have been sent to the 12 assessed abattoirs, although many producers sending their pigs are not making the most of the information available, according to Cheryl Barker, health co-ordinator at AHDB Pork.

“We can only share data with producers who are signed up to the scheme,” she said. “For this reason, I’d encourage anyone who isn’t yet, to sign up to BPHS now, to furnish themselves with accurate baseline information regarding their herd health – ready for the new CCIR system when it arrives.

“CCIR will offer similar information to BPHS, but it will be streamlined.”

AHDB Pork has been working alongside the industry and will continue to work with the FSA and its meat inspectors to ensure that CCIR is accurate and validated before BPHS is phased out.

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