NPA updates African swine fever information
7th Nov 2019 / By Alistair Driver
The NPA has updated its African swine fever (ASF) briefing and refreshed the ASF section.
The comprehensive briefing, put together by NPA chief executive Zoe Davies, covers the nature of the virus, the history of the disease, the current situation, the main risks to the UK sector and how we can reduce that risk.
It states: "Pigs and wild boar become infected following contact with infected animals, carcasses or meat, or contaminated fomites.
"The illegal practice of swill feeding is often ignored by smallholder pig keepers and represents a significant route by which pigs become infected as they may ingest meat containing the virus. It is frequently spread to new areas by people either deliberately or unknowingly enabling pigs to gain access to contaminated pork, for example through swill feeding or simply disposing of food waste where wild boar can access it.
"Since the disease is known to make large geographical jumps, the entire EU is on full alert and Defra has designated the risk of entry to GB as ‘Medium’. This represents the highest risk level than can be reached without the disease being identified in this country, at which point the risk would be raised to ‘High’."
The briefing stresses that the impact of the disease reaching the UK would be 'catastrophic'. The pig sector would immediately lose the ability to export pigmeat to China, a market currently worth £93 million per annum and growing.
"Pig farms designated within control zones would also lose all ability to trade pigs and pigmeat. Depending on the scale of the outbreak, large areas of the countryside would need to be shut down in an attempt to control the disease, affecting not only pig farmers but also the many local businesses reliant on tourism," the briefing adds.
ASF website pages
We have also refreshed the ASF section of our website. It includes regular news updates from around the world about the spread of ASF and steps taken in the UK to keep the disease out.
It also covers links to important websites, advice to pig keepers, information on the symptoms and information on obtaining useful resources, for example posters to be displayed on farms.
"The NPA is urging everyone who keeps pigs and all those connected to the pig industry to be extra vigilant in keeping the disease out, but also to be prepared in case the worst does happen," the websites says.
If you suspect you may have the disease please ring 03000 200 301 immediately – failure to do so is against the law.
Spreading the ASF message
Last week, Zoe took part in a Global Meat News webinar entitled ‘African swine fever a global epidemic’, alongside analysts from GIRA and Global Agritrends and Scott Dee from Pipestone Veterinary Services in the US. She gave a presentation on the UK’s preparedness for an ASF outbreak.
Over 700 people listened in to the webinar to hear about our concerns and how the NPA is working with government and helping members to be as prepared as they can be.