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Minimum biosecurity measures in outdoor production

A variety of outdoor pig production systems are present in the EU but are these more open systems playing a part in the movement of African swine fever in Europe?

ASF-STOP, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), describe the main outdoor pig production systems in the EU. The research brings together biosecurity measures for outdoor pig holdings in ASF-free territories or in areas that are considered at risk from the disease.

In the EU, the rearing of pigs outdoors is banned in ASF-affected countries but as the virus spreads further, free-range and outdoor herds are being investigated in countries where the virus has not yet been confirmed. Based on literature research and on questionnaires on outdoor production in 12 European countries (Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands), ASF-STOP and COST have characterised outdoor production in Europe and determined minimum biosecurity measures for outdoor systems.

© ASF-STOP

Awareness campaigns

Awareness campaigns play an important role in preventing the spread of disease. These campaigns may include the set informative (preventive) measures applied in the country but also at border crossings for passengers, vehicles, ships in the river ports and at the airports.

In order to increase awareness, the series of lectures for all involved subjects (veterinarians, farmers and hunters) need to be organised particularly in the areas where backyards and outdoor production is prevalent.

In the event of a worst-case scenario (ASF outbreak), the existing outdoor swine production and its connection to the ”official backyards” combined with the low level of biosecurity can be recognised as a significant risk factor for further spread of diseases to commercial pig holdings.

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Pigs are considered highly susceptible to mycotoxin contamination, with young animals and female breeders being the most sensitive groups. Mycotoxin can cause clinical symptoms or subclinical decreasing animal performance leading to great economic losses.

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In order to inform and/or recall all outdoor pig producers and staff, simple informative posters and leaflets that contain the most important basic information need to be distributed. In the awareness campaign the public media (local radio and TV station) and local newspapers may be included. Well-known radio and TV broadcasts dedicated to agriculture and livestock production are one of the best and fastest way to share information about biosecurity recommendations for this kind of pig production.