ANALYSIS - Tail biting among pigs, the use of antimicrobials and antibiotic resistance are key areas to be targeted by the UK Pig Health and Welfare Council this year.
The council has called for more data and information from pig units that do not dock tails of piglets, in order to discover what allows them to rear pigs with intact tails and have low incidence of tail biting.
The council has also called for more information in cases where tail biting has occurred, to encourage better methods of managing tail biting and to roll out to the industry a programme of best practice.
In a similar way the council hopes to gather more information on the use of antimicrobials in the treatment of illness among pigs.
The council’s report says it wants to establish a standardised format of antimicrobial usage data, which can be used by everyone across the whole of the UK pig production sector.
In disease news this week, African Swine Fever (ASF) has spread to more farmed pigs in Russia, Ukraine, and Estonia.
Two farms in the Viljandi province and one small holding in the Valga province of Estonia reported outbreaks of ASF.
In Russia, three ASF outbreaks were found in backyard pig operations in the Orlovskaya region and 15 other cases of ASF were discovered in wild boar from other locations in the east of the country.
Latvia reported 26 new outbreaks of ASF in wild boar. The outbreaks were detected in various locations across the east of the country.
There have also been reports in a Ugandan newspaper of ASF spreading through pig herds in the Masaka district.
At a meeting in Moscow this month, international scientific experts stated that that control of ASF in Europe is down to measures which effectively control the wild boar population.
The scientists concluded that “now African swine fever is presenting a serious challenge to the pig industry in many countries, there is a clear need to create conditions for coordinated work, exchange of experience and the joint development of effective methods of combating dangerous diseases”.