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Pig sector ASF concerns raised in Parliament

19th Jun 2023 / By Charlie Dewhirst

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Eggs, Pigs and Poultry last week hosted a panel event in Parliament on ‘Disease Preparedness: Safeguarding the UK’s Food Security’.

APPG Benyon May 23The event was hosted by the APPG chair, Jim Shannon MP (DUP, Strangford), and chaired by NFU Deputy President and NPA Board member, Tom Bradshaw. They were joined on the panel by Gordon Hickman, who is the Head of Exotic Disease Control at Defra, as well as other industry representatives.

The Minister for Biosecurity and Borders, Lord Benyon, delivered the opening speech, reaffirming the Government’s commitment to preventing biosecurity disasters. Other points of discussion included the barriers to vaccines, trade implications and practical implications for farmers.

I attended the event on behalf of the NPA and raised concerns about the potential trade impact of an ASF outbreak in the UK.

I was pleased to have the opportunity to highlight the NPA’s fears about what an ASF outbreak would mean for UK pork exports.

I stressed that we should be following the example of other countries, like Spain, and discussing the practicalities of an outbreak with our trading partners in anticipation of the disease reaching the UK. We shouldn’t be waiting until the horse has bolted and we will continue to raise our concerns with the Government.