Avian flu and pigs

UK - The outbreak of avian flu in Suffolk has concentrated minds and reinforced the need for good biosecurity.
calendar icon 5 February 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

National Pig Association

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

Q. In an outbreak of avian flu in poultry, what surveillance is carried out on pigs?

Avian flu is a notifiable disease of poultry and birds, not pigs. Priority is being given to dealing with disease in poultry and birds. Where highly pathogenic avian flu is confirmed in poultry (as with the current Suffolk case), any pigs on the infected premises (in the Suffolk case, none) would also be tested. Movement restrictions would be imposed until the poultry had been slaughtered. Pigs under restrictions could only be moved off the premises under licence. Defra would look favourably at moving pigs to slaughter, if abattoirs would take them. Sampling of the pigs would be carried out at the time the poultry was killed-out, and again three weeks later. A pre-emptive cull of pigs would be most unlikely.

Q. What if I keep pigs next door to an infected poultry unit?

There will be no routine testing of pigs kept on sites near infected poultry premises, unless there is a significant risk that the virus is spreading.

Q. How do Defra know which poultry farms also have pigs?

The United Kingdom poultry register can be cross-referenced against the pig register to see which premises hold both.

Q. What if my pigs were found to be infected with an avian flu type virus?

If it is in one pig then only that pig will be killed. Whole herd culls would only be carried if a veterinary risk assessment shows the virus is spreading through the pens from pig to pig.

Q. What tracing would be done?

There is no legal requirement to carry out forward tracings in pigs as avian flu is not a notifiable disease in pigs.

Q. Would a case of avian flu in pigs trigger an export ban?

There is no requirement to stamp pig meat for avian flu as it is not a notifiable disease for this pigs. Therefore there are no restrictions upon pigmeat. All pigs not being killed for disease control can be slaughtered for human consumption.

Q. If some of my pigs are killed, will I get compensation?

There is no legal obligation to pay compensation for pigs infected with avian flu, so no compensation would be paid for diseased animals. But remember, whole herd culls are unlikely.

Q. What would be the impact on a pig AI stud in a protection or surveillance zone?

This would be no significant impact.

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