18 August 2000
Learn from Dutch, pig producers urged
By FWi staff
BRITISH pig producers are being urged to learn lessons from the Dutch, who suffered the last major European outbreak of classical swine fever in 1997.
On that occasion, over half of Hollands pig population — about 11m pigs — had to be destroyed at a cost of over 2bn.
Both live exports and sales of pigmeat from the south of the country were banned.
The outbreak also prompted a major policy change by the Dutch government, which is now seeking a 30% reduction in the countrys pig industry.
According to a statement this week from British pig breeder PIC, three factors were primarily responsible for transmitting the disease in Holland.
First and foremost was the spread by birds and rodents, which accounted for 39% of outbreaks.
Pig density in Holland is greater than in most parts of the UK, and so this may be a less important factor here, said PIC marketing manager, Martin Whiting.
But close attention to health and hygiene programmes is still critical.
Second was transport, responsible for 24% of Dutch outbreaks.
Vehicles should be kept as far away from farms as possible and certainly none should be allowed on to pig units.
Third was people visiting units, which caused 15% of the Dutch cases.
No one should be allowed on farms unless their visit is imperative, such as a vet to tend a sick animal, said Mr Whiting.