5 January 2001

Swine fever relief for East Anglia

EAST Anglian pig producers have started the New Year free of swine fever movement restrictions for the first time in five months.

But the relief this has brought is being tempered by the financial crisis now facing affected farmers.

MAFF lifted controls in an area containing only pet pigs around the last infected premises in south Norfolk on December 30. Just a few infected units and dangerous contacts are still subject to individual restrictions.

Over 1000 farmers have been caught up in movement restrictions since the first of 16 outbreaks was detected on Aug 8. More than 250,000 pigs have been slaughtered, including 180,000 in MAFFs welfare disposal scheme.

Unable to move or sell pigs, some farmers under restriction sent most of their animals into the scheme to guarantee cashflow, making it very difficult for them to start trading again.

National Pig Association regional manager Ian Campbell said swine fever could have cost the industry over £10m.