Pigmen must face up to new disease risk

PIG WASTING Disease is now largely under control thanks to major changes in the way in which UK pig producers are managing their breeding and rearing herds.

But the industry still has to face up to other disease challenges.

New EU legislation on salmonella is soon to be introduced.

Domestic producers will have to demonstrate that the industry’s existing Zoonosis Action Plan at least meets legal requirements.

According to the British Pig Executive – which manages the English ZAP scheme – pig units with high salmonella scores will risk the imposition of new legal measures.

Free advice is currently available from BPEX and according to the National Pig Association, a salmonella vaccine may soon be available for pig and poultry producers.

The pig industry may also face some collateral risk from Avian Flu, although DEFRA has assessed that risk as “low” in the UK.

Combined pig and poultry units could be subjected to movement restrictions in the event of an Avian Flu outbreak, affecting the pig business as well as the poultry.

The National Farmers Union is working closely with DEFRA on contingency plans for poultry notifiable diseases.

With pig prices only now returning to relatively firm levels, movement and export restrictions could be a major blow to the pig industry.