Health Service for Pigs to be Launched

UK - A health service for pigs is being launched in Yorkshire and Humberside. It aims to chart the health of all pig herds in the two counties and to bring pig-keepers together to reduce common pig illnesses and perhaps to eradicate some pig diseases, for instance swine dysentery.
calendar icon 15 June 2009
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The new health service, which has yet to be officially named, may eventually be rolled out across all England. It is being introduced in Yorkshire and Humberside because pig producers in this area have a reputation for being go-ahead and working well together.

The project is being funded by the regional development agency (Yorkshire Forward), and the BPEX, which is funded from levies paid by English pig-keepers.

"Having persuaded some of the country’s largest retailers to stop importing fresh pork, we now have a responsibility to ensure there are sufficient supplies of high-welfare British pork for them to sell," said pig producer and BPEX chairman Stewart Houston.

"I estimate we could produce another 1.5m pigs a year in England without even expanding the sow herd, simply by working together to suppress or even eliminate some of the common pig diseases, in much the same way that in human medicine, diseases such as whooping cough and mumps have been almost eliminated."

A steering group has been appointed to oversee the project. Chairman is North Yorkshire pig producer Richard Lister. A meeting is to be held at Malton Rugby Club on 1 July, at 3pm. Everyone who farms pigs in Yorkshire and Humberside is invited to attend and help design the way the new health service will work.

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