DEFRA denies pig jab plan
By FWi staff
THE government has dismissed media reports that it is about to vaccinate pigs against foot-and-mouth disease in North Yorkshire.
The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs rejected claims that ministers had asked for European Union approval to vaccinate this month.
A department spokeswoman said: “We can introduce vaccination if necessary, but we are not planning to do so at the moment.”
The spokeswoman was reacting to claims in The Times newspaper that ministers have approved a plans for a firebreak vaccination policy for pigs.
Vaccination would be introduced if the virus persists in the Thirsk area or if it moves into East Riding, an area densely populated with pigs, the paper said.
According to the Daily Mail, Chief Veterinary Officer Jim Scudamore is believed also to be planning how a vaccine could be used in mid-Wales.
But National Farmers Union president Ben Gill is opposed to vaccination, saying it would delay the resumption of exports and cause abortions in sows.
Mr Gill is also concerned that products from vaccinated animals would be shunned by meat processors and retailers.
National Pig Association producer group chairman Stewart Houston said he would support vaccination around Thirsk as a last resort.
Pigs would have to be culled out afterwards to prevent problems with selling meat at home and abroad, he added.
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