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UK producers urged to up biosecurity in face of African swine fever risk

UK pig producers need to put robust disease control measures in place to protect the industry from the risk of African swine fever (ASF), according to an industry body.

The National Pig Association (NPA) said outbreaks of the disease in eastern Europe are concerning for the UK pig industry, and warned it could create havoc for the industry if it reaches British shores, reports Farmers Weekly.

Last month the World Organization for Animal Health confirmed outbreaks of the disease in wild boar in the Czech Republic, taking the list of ASF-infected countries to eight.

Positive test results have also occurred in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova.

Zoe Davies, NPA chief executive, said the UK government’s Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs maintains that the risk from the disease is low.

However, she said it is important producers ensure their surveillance and defenses against ASF are as robust as can be.

“It is also vital that Defra fully understands the devastating impact any incursion of ASF into UK wild boar or domestic pigs will have, not just for animal health and welfare but also the crippling effect on our economy of losing our vital export trade,” Davies added.

“Wild boars have played a major part in spreading the disease in eastern Europe, and this highlights once again the need to ensure we have robust control measures in place to prevent our wild boar populations spreading out of control.”

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