This Week's Pig News Round-Up

19 December 2011, at 11:32pm

ANALYSIS - Russia and Ukraine have stepped up controls against African swine fever (ASF), writes Jackie Linden, senior editor of ThePigSite. ASF is also in the news in Uganda, while FMD has been found in a pig as a Taiwan slaughterhouse. Pig producers in the north of the UK have been warned to look out for signs of swine dysentery and to step up biosecurity.

The Russian food safety and veterinary authority, Rosselkhoznador, has stepped up it measures to counter the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Kursk and Oryol regions.

The authorities are concerned that the disease could run rampant in the region which is close to the borders with Ukraine and Belarus.

In a bid to get a grip on the outbreak, Rosselkhoznador has enhanced its monitoring measures and introduced steps to eliminate ASF in the Kursk and Oryol regions. However, despite strict controls being implemented, the authorities appear to be fighting a battle to get on top of the disease.

Ukraine and the European Commission have reached agreement on taking joint measures to counter the spreading of ASF into the territory of Ukraine and the European Union member states, according to a statement made by the State Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service.

"We, jointly with the European Commission, have commenced work on creation of a control zone to avoid and suppress spreading of the virus onto the Ukrainian and, of course, the European territory," said Agrarian Policy and Food Supplies Minister, Mykola Prysiazhniuk.

He added that, during a meeting with EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolos, agreement was reached on stepping up control over movements of animal products, grain from the Russian territory affected by ASF, and also control over migration of wild animals.

In Uganda, residents of Adjumani District have ignored health warnings about the risks associated with eating pork from pigs killed by ASF. Although the veterinary department placed a quarantine on pigs, the number of pigs killed by swine fever has risen from 60 to 120, in just two weeks, curity operatives and officials from the production department have arrested two residents of Patua Village for exhuming pig carcasses for consumption.

Pig farmers in the UK, particularly in Yorkshire, are being encouraged to raise their level of biosecurity, to join a producer group and to to be on the alert for signs of disease, following several confirmed outbreaks of swine dysentery in the UK recently. Our report covers what stockmen and farmers should be looking out for and what to do. In a more detailed report on control measures, eradication is a feasible solution in the medium term, according to a veterinarian based in the region. If the disease strikes, she recommended transparency with suppliers, neighbouring pig farmers and abattoirs to minimise the risk of spreading the infection.

With a growing population but a shrinking rural population, China's farmers are changing from man-power to iron horse-power as they move to a more contemporary approach to agriculture.

China is clearly experiencing a rise in their standard of living which is resulting in a change in their consumer habits, said Alexander Haus with VDMA at the Sino-European Conference held during Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany, recently.

Mr Haus said: "We see China's households moving toward higher quality food and their everyday food mix is changing to include more meat, milk, wheat noodles and potatoes. Self-sufficiency for basic food products is one of the main targets for China's central government."

Returning to disease issues, a pig with symptoms of foot and mouth disease (FMD) has been found in a Taiwan slaughterhouse.