24 August 2000
Hauliers face swine fever clampdown
by Alistair Driver
HAULIERS who transport pigs and other livestock could face a clampdown on hygiene standards once the dust has settled from the swine fever outbreak.
Government inspectors trying to track down the disease in East Anglia have voiced concern that lorries are not being properly disinfected between loads.
So far, livestock hauliers are not implicated in the spread of swine fever. But the inspectors have had their attention drawn to the practices of hauliers.
Experts now believe that moves are likely in a bid to improve hygiene standards in vehicles carrying live pigs so that swine fever can be minimised.
Andrew Turnbull, a MAFF vet dealing with the crisis in East Anglia, said poor hygiene overseas had spread the disease and the same must not happen here.
James Black, vice-chairman of the National Pig Association, said some hauliers used too little disinfectant and hardly ever washed vehicles thoroughly.
“As in any walk of life, there is a tendency for complacency to creep in and, while some implement excellent hygiene practices, others are not so good.”
The law requires hauliers to clean and disinfect vehicles as soon as is reasonably practical and not more than 24 hours after the journey is completed.
It is illegal for hauliers to transport animals unless vehicles have been properly cleaned and disinfected since they last carried animals.
The UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association, has reminded hauliers working in areas affected by swine fever that good hygiene is paramount.
Jeremy Smith, UKASTA transport expert, said: “It should be common sense. But this is a crisis and [the advice] worth repeating.”
A spokesman for the Road Haulage Association, which represents 140 livestock hauliers, said its drivers already followed hygiene regulations.
“There is a requirement to wash vehicles after dropping animals off at abattoirs but in some cases the facilities are not available to allow this to happen.”