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NPA urges producers to warn public about the risk of feeding pigs

23rd Jan 2019 / By Alistair Driver

Dont feed pigs signThe NPA is urging all producers to put up signage telling people not to feed the pigs due to risk of spreading disease.

With African swine fever (ASF) circulating widely in Europe and other parts of the world, the UK is on high alert.

One of the most likely routes for the virus to reach pigs if it gets into the country is members of the public, either deliberately or accidentally, feeding pigs infected meat. This has been identified as the most likely cause of the 2000 Classical swine fever outbreak.

It particularly applies to outdoor pig units near roads, especially lay-bys, public footpaths and any indoor or outdoor unit close to a public right of way.

Free signs are available from AHDB Pork.  Email:  to request them.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “We know there are many ways the ASF virus could get into the country, so it is absolutely critical that the pig industry takes all the precautions it can to keep it away from pigs.

“We urge all producers, particularly those with units next to roads, lay-bys and public footpaths to put up the signs and send a clear message to the general public.”

AHDB is also running a social media campaign urging the public to #KeepWildBoarWild

As has been well-documented, another possible route of entry of the virus is the potential for feral boar, particularly in the Forest of Dean, to access contaminated meat, that has been discarded, or even deliberately fed, by the public.

The campaign stresses that although feeding wild boar may seem helpful, ‘it can be dangerous for their health and spread diseases that affect all pigs’. It warns that boar soon become used to being fed and may then venture out of the forest and into local towns, raiding bins and wreaking havoc on the road.

The NPA is calling for the Government to review its outdated feral pig plan and take more responsibility for the management of the UK’s growing feral pig population.

The risk to UK pigs posed by ASF was featured on Countryfile on Sunday, including an interview with NPA chief executive Zoe Davies. 

Useful web links

  • See the NPA's dedicated ASF web pages here
  • A summary of the key messages for keeping African swine fever out of the UK can be viewed on the NPA website here
  • Defra-APHA summarise the symptoms and provide biosecurity advice here 
  • A campaign to highlight the dangers of swill feeding and more information can be found on this link. All pig keepers and the public must ensure pigs are not fed catering waste, kitchen scraps or pork products. Feeding of meat products to feral pigs is also illegal.
  • Defra-APHA have published some photos of clinical signs of disease of African swine fever on Flickr.
  • A Defra-APHA poster for pig keepers summarising actions they can take can be downloaded here