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UK: Pig industry put on alert as two pigs tested for possible swine fever

23:09 20 March 2014

Pig farmers and those involved in the industry have been on high alert since African Swine Fever was found in pigs in Lithuania

Pig farmers and those involved in the industry have been on high alert since African Swine Fever was found in pigs in Lithuania

Samples from the carcases of two slaughter pigs from an abattoir in the South of England are being tested for swine fever, pig levy payers’ organisation BPEX said today.

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“Samples from the carcases of two slaughter pigs from an abattoir in the South of England are being tested at AHVLA Weybridge for swine fever, but it will be 24 hours before preliminary results are available. Restrictions have been placed on premises in Aberdeenshire,” it said.

“This is the second swine fever alert in the past six months and it emphasises the importance of continued vigilance by producers and abattoirs. BPEX, BMPA, NPA and PVS have welcomed vigilance shown by abattoirs and producers and stress that the industry welcomes the opportunity to investigate all suspicions of notifiable disease.”

It has urged those involved in the industry is to review biosecurity as the first line of defence against devastating diseases.

“An outbreak of a notifiable disease would have serious consequences for the export industry which is now worth more than £300million a year,” it said.

Bury St Edmunds pig consultant Peter Crichton said: “Hopefully, as previously, this will prove to be a false alarm.”

African swine fever, which is harmless to humans but fatal to pigs, is a notifiable disease and has advanced into Lithuania and there are fears it could be carried further into the European Union by infected wild boar.

The National Pig Association (NPA) has already urged tighter security at border posts to prevent contaminated meat being carried illegally into the country.

Britain has a fast-growing pork export market with China and other non-European Union countries.

The disease, which can survive for months in raw, cured, cooked and even frozen meat, has advanced from Russia and Belarus.

If it arrives in this country it has the potential to seriously damage the nation’s pig industry, those involved in the sector have warned.

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