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Action needed to beat disease in pigs

by 5m Editor
9 July 2007, at 11:06am

NORTHERN IRELAND - The good progress made in the past year to try to eradicate Aujeszky's Disease from Northern Ireland has been halted somewhat. A sizeable number of pig producers have yet to have the first qualifying test carried out on their herds and therefore remain in the Primary Status category.

The first step in ultimately achieving herds "Official Aujeszky's Disease Free" (OADF) status involves carrying out two qualifying tests. These herd tests must be done at least six months apart.

Now processors, in agreement with the other stakeholders, have decided that only pigs that are Aujeszkey's Disease Free (ADF) or OADF will be accepted for slaughter from 1st January 2008.

In order to get the second qualifying test completed before this dat, the first test should ideally have been completed before the end of June.

Almost all of the remaining Primary Status producers are small producers with less than 10 sows. In order to maintain momentum and achieve AD free status for Northern Ireland, these producers must act quickly to prevent holding back the progress that has been made on eradicating the disease from the province.

Aujeszky's disease (AD) is caused by porcine herpesvirus 1. It primarily affects pigs and is characterised by respiratory, reproductive and nervous signs. Infection of sows can cause abortion and stillbirths. So not only is it beneficial for producers in reducing production losses on farms but will also have benefits for the Northern Ireland pig industry as a whole by opening up export opportunities for processors and pig breeders and maintain current markets.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that is not free of Aujeszky's Disease. There is therefore a concern that if the disease is not eradicated, there may be implications for trade, which will ultimately affect the pig price.

The UFU strongly encourages any producer with a Primary Status herd to contact their vet now and get the first qualifying test completed. Failing to do this will result in much difficulty in finding an outlet for finished pigs after the 1st January 2008 deadline.

Source: Farming Life

Click here for more information on Aujeszky's Disease.

5m Editor