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Classical Swine Fever: Planning for the Worst

by 5m Editor
7 October 2008, at 5:58pm

UK - Defra has formed a classical swine fever group to explore options and formulate proposals for handling any future outbreak. Stewart Houston is representing NPA on the group.

Whilst there is no imminent identifiable risk of another classical swine fever outbreak, there is a constant threat of the disease, which has the potential to cause devastation in the pig industry, as was demonstrated in East Anglia in 2000.

Government is obliged to review its classical swine fever legislation to ensure it is compliant with European law, and it considers this an opportunity to provide some flexibility in how controls are delivered.

Objectives of the group are to set out policy for handling the disease, and to address any gaps and weaknesses in policy.

The group is also tasked with refining controls so they are effective but minimise burdens on the industry. In this respect Stewart Houston will be explaining how pig pyramids work and how movement within pyramids might be allowed without the risk of disease spread.

However, he says, even when it is possible to persuade Defra vets of the low-risk nature of established pyramids, there will still be the problem of ensuring early movement does not breach European law.

For the present Stewart Houston is concentrating on explaining what pig pyramids are, and how they work, so that this is well understood in advance of any future outbreak.

Government’s decision not to introduce a wild boar culling programme has caused outdoor pig producers much concern. The group has been asked to consider a policy for handling feral wild boar populations during an outbreak, including surveillance and, if necessary, disease control.

The group has also been asked to consider how freedom of disease in the wild boar population could be proved after an outbreak.

Movement controls are likely to consume much of the group’s time. Legal obligations for controls must be understood and where there is discretion, options need to be developed based on evidence, says Defra.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Classical Swine Fever by clicking here.

5m Editor