UK - The UK Government is proposing the compulsory slaughter of pigs infected with TB. Producers will probably receive compensation, but they may be better off seeking a licence direct to slaughter, according to the NPA.
Cases of TB in pigs have been rising over the years, reflecting the upward trend in cattle.
But pigs are unlikely to transmit the disease to other animals because they are a "spill-over" host, meaning the disease disappears of its own accord as long as there isn't further infection from cattle or wildlife.
Currently when TB is reported in pigs, movement restrictions are put in place by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, to prevent spread, but it can licence movement to slaughter to reduce business disruption.
There is a statutory duty on owners and vets to report suspicion of TB in pigs.
Outdoor pigs in high-incidence areas (generally in the west of the country) are at greatest risk of infection with TB.
But if the disease is not spotted, there is a risk it could be spread further when finishers are moved to low-incidence parts of the country, particularly if they go to units with poor biosecurity.
Submission to Animal and Plant Health Agency laboratories of suspect TB lesions from pigs have increased over recent years, with almost all the suspect cases located in the west and south-west of England. However, the increase in submissions has not resulted in a proportionate increase in positive results.
Defra is currently consulting on TB in non-bovines. Deadline for taking part on-line is Friday November 20.
- Defra proposes primary responsibility for TB surveillance in non-bovines should rest with the keepers of the animals and their vets.
- Where TB is suspected, APHA should apply movement restrictions, implement testing where this is practically possible and, as necessary, compulsorily slaughter farmed animals in which bovine TB is believed to be present.
- The consultation proposes species-specific statutory compensation arrangements for all non-bovine farmed species that are compulsorily slaughtered.
- In order to ensure good value for public money, compensation amounts would be designed to ensure high levels of compliance with disease control measures, incentivisation of owners to manage their own disease risks, and protection of the economic sustainability of animal keepers' businesses.
- The on-line consultation poses the idea of farmers of meat producing non-bovines being given the opportunity to secure for themselves a salvage value individually negotiated with a slaughterhouse for compulsorily slaughtered animals.
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