6 June 1997

Take extra care with pig disease

PIG producers attending summer shows with stock are advised to take additional disease precautions.

According to NFU pig adviser, Dafydd Owen, the NFU is examining the case for a voluntary restraint on producers taking pigs to shows to reduce disease concerns in the wake of the Danish swine fever outbreak.

A small risk of swine fever transmission is possible if people feed infected cured pork products to pigs.

"The EU controls on swine fever are designed to prevent its spread. But there is a lag between infection and symptoms showing, so there is a small chance that there could be some infected pork in the food chain," says Mr Owen.

"The swine fever virus is killed by cooking, but not by curing, so salami and ham could carry it. We are concerned that hobby farmers might be feeding their pigs these products. It is not a zoonosis, and will not affect humans."

He suggests producers put notices up at shows and try to keep their pigs as far apart from others at the event. "It may also be a good idea to keep pigs which have been shown in isolation for a couple of weeks before re-introducing them to the herd."