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CVOs welcome Pig Health and Welfare Council's objectives for current decade

21st Jul 2021 / By Alistair Driver

The UK Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) have welcomed the Pig Health and Welfare Council's (PHWC) objectives for 2020-30, which include embracing new technology to help address disease challenges. 

PHWC, which brings together organisations from across the industry, including NPA, to address pig health and welfare issues, has published a new report, setting out its activities during 2019 and 2020 and its objectives for the current decade. 

The council's objective for 2020–2030 is to 'support the pig industry in enhancing the health and welfare of the pig herd, and enabling assurance that pork products are safe to eat, and produced from pigs whose health and welfare needs have been met'.

In a foreword, CVOs Christine Middlemiss (UK), Sheila Voas (Scotland) and Cristianne Glossop (Wales) say: 

"From a disease control perspective, although the overall challenges of early detection and control of disease remain constant, the specific details change.

"The CVOs welcome the council’s new objectives for 2020–2030, which will build on previous achievements and embrace new technologies in a rapidly changing, data-driven world.

The pandemic has only served to emphasise the importance of disease surveillance, preparedness for disease incursion, emergency response and control measures. African Swine Fever (ASF) remains a threat to UK pigs, and the industry must remain alert in promoting effective biosecurity measures, ensuring early detection and effective control.

"On the One Health front, COVID-19 has been shown not to transfer through pigs, or pig meat and products. However, One Health continues to offer other challenges through other pathogens, including Salmonella, hepatitis E and LA-MRSA. Working together will reinforce the resilience of the sector and reduce possible impacts on human health from these zoonotic microorganisms."

In the report, PHWC's key activities for 2019-20 include: 

  • Updated its 20:20 vision, which has been enhanced to reflect the integration of the industry in delivering pig health and welfare.
  • Collaboration involved in implementing the Welfare Code, the review of Red Tractor standards, and responses to the proposed changes to Welfare in Transport legislation.
  • The Food Safety subgroup continues to work closely with Public Health England, the FSA and APHA in recognising the challenges facing food safety, and highlighting the importance of biosecurity. Achievements include the creation of a central information hub for biosecurity, health and safety, and public concerns of LA-MRSA.
  • Surveillance of key diseases by the Disease Surveillance group, including ASF, prompted the launch of the ‘#MuckFreeTruck’ lorry wash campaign in 2019, in addition to an updated contingency plan for PEDV.
  • Targets for RUMA’s Targets Task Force, published in 2020, and proposals for the revision of Medicated Feed and Veterinary Medicines regulations, were achievements of the Antimicrobial Usage subgroup.