27 March 1998

Restrictions to curb diseases

DISTRIBUTING boar semen collected on-farm for DIY AI may be restricted under MAFF proposals to limit disease outbreaks such as swine fever.

"There is a horror story waiting to happen under existing legislation," believes chairman of the Association of Pig AI Centre Operators, Christianne Glossop.

Producers are entitled to distribute semen between separate units if they own the boars and sows without restriction. However, the opportunity to spread disease is high. With recent outbreaks of swine fever abroad, the ministry is currently reviewing domestic AI legislation, says Dr Glossop.

Under proposals being drawn up in consultation with pig AI centres, MAFF is seeking to restrict to five the number of units to which semen can be distributed.

Each unit would have to have similar routines for handling stock and semen, and have similar health status.

"The industry has been calling for this review to protect the UK industry for five years. But BSE has got in the way and progress has been slow," she adds. &#42