Don't Cause the Next Foot-and-Mouth Epidemic04 September 2013
UK - Environmental activists who want to see a lifting of the European Union ban on feeding kitchen and catering waste to pigs may be sending confusing signals to hobby pig-keepers, warns the National Pig Association.
NPA’s newly-launched Don’t Kill Me With Kindness campaign explains that feeding kitchen and catering waste carries a penalty of up to two years in jail because it risks introducing costly and damaging disease epidemics to Britain.
Don’t do it, urges NPA. You wouldn't want to be the person who is blamed for a new epidemic.
The 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic was caused by feeding inadequately treated catering waste to pigs. It took nine months to bring under control, during which time ten million pigs, sheep and cattle were slaughtered, and it cost the country £8 billion.
In Britain and throughout the European Union it is illegal to feed raw or cooked catering waste to pigs, including waste from household kitchens.
It is permissible to feed pigs fruit and vegetables direct from the garden or allotment, but feeding waste from the kitchen is illegal — even raw or cooked left-over vegetables, as these may have come into contact with raw or cooked meats.
NPA’s ‘Don’t kill me with kindness’ campaign invites pig-keepers and caterers to visit NPA’s ‘Why feeding kitchen waste is illegal’ website page to get the facts.
“Whilst NPA understands why people may think feeding food waste makes perfect sense, we want everyone who keeps pigs to follow the law to the letter because we feel that the stakes are too high,” said NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies.
“Pig-keepers are responsible members of society and we think there is more chance they will obey the law scrupulously if we explain the reasons for not feeding any kitchen waste — and that’s what our campaign seeks to do.”
To any pig-keepers who are convinced that their particular kitchen waste is safe, NPA warns, “You cannot be completely confident no cross contamination has taken place, so please just willingly obey the law.”
These days, better control mechanisms are in place and it is hoped the next outbreak will be brought under control more quickly. “But any outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever or African swine fever will mean the slaughter of farm animals, a ban on moving animals in at-risk areas, and the loss of export markets,” said Dr Davies.
“Aside from the emotional distress caused, these diseases have a massive economic impact, not only on the affected farms, but on the local community, local businesses and every pig farm in the country for many years”.
“Rather than take unacceptable risks by feeding catering waste to pigs, we think it is more sensible to tackle waste further up the chain, so that far less of it is wasted at manufacturing, retail and household level. If we could achieve that as a society, then well-meaning environmentalists would not have to worry so much about the amount of waste food that is currently going into landfill.”
Foot-and-mouth, classical swine fever and African swine fever are opportunistic and persistent diseases. They can live for months, sometimes years, in raw and processed meat.
And at any time they may be present in countries that export fresh, frozen and processed meats to Britain. They can also arrive in this country in fresh and cooked foods carried by holidaymakers, visitors and people working here. They can even survive on clothing for up to a fortnight.
For more information on why feeding kitchen waste is illegal, visit the web site, www.npa-uk.org.uk/disease.html.
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Find out more about Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), click here.
ThePigSite News Desk