Swine fever confined to East Anglia

21 August 2000

Swine fever ‘confined to East Anglia’

By FWi staff

TESTS carried out on farms outside East Anglia appear to show that the swine fever outbreak has not spread to other parts of the country.

But full results will not be known for 24 hours at least, reports the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

To date classical swine fever has been confirmed on five farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Test results will be eagerly awaited by the European Veterinary Committee meets on Tuesday (22 Aug) to discuss whether British pig meat should be banned.

Farm minister Nick Brown has said any attempts by Brussels to do so would be unjustified.

And later in the week the National Pig Association (NPA) will call for compensation for farmers unable to sell their stock, even though it is healthy.

Producers in surveillance zones are banned from moving and selling their animals and have warned this could bankrupt them.

There are also concerns that growing pig numbers within the zones could lead to welfare problems.

NPA regional manager Ian Campbell says as a glut of pigs grows, some farmers may walk away, allowing the animals to roam free.

The association has suggested an EU compensation scheme in which 70% of the money would come from Brussels and 30% from the UK government.

NPA producer group chairman Stewart Houston told Farming Today the ministry must offer exceptional circumstance aid.

He said the NPA was organising makeshift straw bale housing within zones to relieve pig number pressure.

But these are day-to-day emergency measures. We need a plan for the next 4-5 weeks until this is resolved.

On Friday Mr Brown said compensation would not be offered to owners of healthy herds within restriction zones.

They must accept the situation as “a business risk”, although farmers with infected herds will receive cash.

And the minister offered little reassurance to farmers concerns about overcrowding, suggesting they consult their vets.

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