Pig Producers Should Not Underestimate Value of Abattoir Feedback

UK - Fighting ‘invisible’ diseases and pathogen challenges can be a tall order if uninformed and pig producers could be inadvertently wasting valuable time and money treating conditions ‘in the dark’.
calendar icon 15 June 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

Producers are being reminded that this doesn’t need to be so, as the answers to some of these issues could be found in abattoir reports.

“Some producers may have the mantra that what they don’t see won’t hurt them, but this isn’t the case as subclinical diseases are prevalent on many farms and can have a big impact on both a unit’s physical and financial performance,” says Emma Bailey-Beech, AHDB Pork food safety project manager.

“Subclinical diseases present a challenge because there are no visible signs that an infection is present, making them hard to detect.

“Historically, producers had no way of understanding the levels of subclinical diseases pressure that their unit was under. However, this changed with the introduction of the British Pig Health Scheme (BPHS), in 2005,” says Emma.

“The health monitoring scheme screens pigs at slaughter for incidence and severity of animal disease on member farms and I’d urge producers to take advantage of this service and analyse their herds’ post-mortem data.”

BPHS will be phased out from March 2017, however producers will then receive similar reports based on Collection and Communication of Inspection Results (CCIR) from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) meat inspectors in the abattoir.

Cheryl Barker, health co-ordinator at AHDB Pork, says AHDB Pork holds BPHS health data for thousands of pigs that have been sent to the 12 abattoirs being assessed, but many producers sending the pigs are not currently taking advantage of this information.

“We can only share data with producers who are signed up to the scheme. For this reason, I’d encourage anyone that isn’t yet, to sign up to BPHS now to furnish themselves with accurate baseline information regarding their herd health – ready for the new CCIR system when it arrives,” says Cheryl.

“CCIR will offer similar information to BPHS but it will be streamlined,” she adds.

AHDB Pork has been working closely with industry and continues to work with FSA and its meat inspectors, to ensure that CCIR is accurate and validated before BPHS is phased out.

BPHS is a free service available to all English pig producers and they can sign up online: http://pork.ahdb.org.uk/health-welfare/health/safe-traceable-pork/bphs/bphs-registration/

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