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Aujeszky's eradication in Ireland

by 5m Editor
10 January 2003, at 12:00am

UK - There is a question mark over how effective Aujeszky's eradication can be in Ireland when, notwithstanding frequent cross-border traffic, the eradication schemes of the North and South are not synchronised.

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In the South, eradication is proceeding apace. But in the North, where producers have been battered by low prices, high feed costs and a disadvantageous pound:punt exchange rate, progress has been less certain. Some observers believe the process may be on the verge of stalling.

As England is Northern Ireland's main "export" market, mainland producers share an interest in the outcome.

Although pigs from the province must be certified Aujeszky's-free before they can travel across the Irish Sea, English producers would prefer to see all-Ireland become Aujeszky's-free.

"Currently one would have to be concerned about any farm-to-farm movement from Northern Ireland to England unless it were supported by blood testing," said NPA's Ian Campbell.

With the help of a 360,000 grant, Northern Ireland producers have completed the first stage of an Aujeszky's vaccination programme. But the money has dried up and there is now a fear that some producers will stop vaccinating before all pockets of wild virus are eliminated, which ultimately would waste the initial investment to the detriment of the whole island.

For obvious reasons (no money) producers are unable to finance their own eradication scheme, so everything now depends on whether the Northern Ireland department of agriculture can be persuaded to provide the resources, and drive, for the vaccination programme to be completed.

The province's breeding herd has declined rapidly in recent years and currently stands at less than 40,000. As a result there is a fear among the province's producers that Aujeszky's eradication is not high on government's agenda.

It may be that pig producers in the south - the very people who are making life so difficult for Northern Ireland producers - will be able to help by pressing for genuine eradication on both sides of the border.

Source: National Pig Association - 8th January 2003

5m Editor