18 April 1997

Ban to halt swine fever

PIG farmers should ban all imported pork products from their farms to cut the risk of importing swine fever says a Yorkshire vet.

John Carr of the Garth veterinary group, near Driffield, warned that swine fever was out of control in Holland. "And it is a very serious disease which we do not want in the East Riding," he told a farmers meeting at Bishop Burton college.

There have been 95 cases of swine fever in Holland this year, with 180,000 pigs from infected farms slaughtered. The Dutch government has also ordered the destruction of another 2m pigs within quarantine areas surrounding the infected units. And, although exports of live pigs and pig semen have been banned, exports of pigmeat are still permitted.

"I am urging a ban on all imported ham, sausage rolls, pizzas and pork pies on your unit because some of the meat could have come originally from Holland," said Dr Carr.

Swine fever could easily infect domestic units if imported pigmeat products were fed to pigs – even if that was just sandwiches containing imported pork products being thrown to the pigs by workers at lunchtime he said.

"That little bit of kindness by feeding a piece of crust to a sow can mean that you have inadvertently given her swine fever from a piece of ham which started its life in Holland." &#42