Pig industry urged to be vigilant against disease

With African Swine Fever and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) destroying international pig markets, the UK pig industry must be vigilant against exotic diseases, Bpex has warned.

The pork levy body said the threat of disease is at its highest level since 2001, coming mainly from African Swine Fever sweeping across Russia, PEDv in North America and foot-and-mouth disease.

The Pig Health and Welfare Council Surveillance Subgroup Exotic and Emerging Diseases Roundtable has developed a range of recommendations to help the UK pig industry tackle exotic diseases and safeguard export markets.

The six-point recommendations from the council include; horizon scanning, risk assessment and international surveillance; prevention of introduction; prevention of contact; early detection; rapid response – contingency plans and strategic goals.

Bpex vet Derek Armstrong, who has headed the development of the recommendations, said: “Some of the recommendations have already been taken up, such as the National Pig Association working with breeding companies to update import protocols for PEDv and others, with a contingency plan for PEDv being developed.

“It is vital we are in a position to react as rapidly as possible, as our export markets are now worth about £350 million a year and if these were closed, due to disease, it would have a devastating effect.”

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