16 October 2000
Overseas vets in swine fever clean-up
By FWi staff
VETERINARY experts from Holland and the USA are due to arrive in Britain to bolster the governments 150-strong team fighting swine fever in East Anglia.
Holland will supply up to five experienced vets a week starting Monday (16 October) after a request from Jim Scudamore, Britains chief veterinary officer.
A further eight vets and technicians, from the USA, are expected to arrive in Britain before the end of the month, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
MAFF has also diverted staff from the Veterinary Laboratory Agency and taken on temporary staff in a bid to get the disease under control.
Junior agriculture minister Baroness Hayman welcomed the news of international assistance but cautioned against over-optimism.
“I have never been in any doubt about how serious the current situation is for the large number of pig farmers still under movement restrictions in East Anglia.”
She added: “I have today seen for myself the kind of problems that exist on those farms which have been under restriction for many weeks.”
Pig farmers claim that not enough is being done to eradicate the disease, which has been confirmed on 15 farms since it emerged more than two months ago
Many more farms remain under restriction. Agriculture minister Nick Brown has pledged to ensure that all necessary resources to control the outbreak.
The overseas vets will work alongside their British counterparts to clear the infected areas of swine fever so that restrictions can be lifted.