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NPA talks to Benn, direct

by 5m Editor
6 August 2007, at 10:36am

UK - Secretary of state Hilary Benn took this evening’s conference call with NPA and other key stakeholders. Movement is still possible for Wednesday.

Amid the current crisis, pig producers are urged to continue to maintain the highest standards of biosecurity.

Infected premises

Blood tests have thrown up another positive among cattle. These animals were in a separate field but are considered to be part of the same herd. Protection and surveillance zones have been extended accordingly (see "Defra extends control zones" below).

The virus

01 BFS67-like virus is virulent. It has an incubation period of two to 14 days. So if any more animals are infected the clinical signs should show very soon after infection.

Movement of pigs

Nothing has taken place today to suggest that pig-keepers will not be able to resume moving animals on Wednesday but, to quote NPA’s Ian Campbell, it remains a “possibility rather than a certainty”.

Pig sector biosecurity

“When the opportunity to move animals to slaughter arises, pig producers simply must inspect their stock carefully before they send,” said Ian Campbell this afternoon. “Don’t take any chances on sending lame animals. It will cause huge disruption and is just not worth the risk. If you have lame animals, hold them back a few weeks.”

Fallen stock collection

Scotland has introduced a derogation allowing livestock keepers to bury fallen stock during the current crisis. NPA has urged Defra today to introduce a derogation where necessary in England.

Pig producers do not differentiate in risk between live and dead animals and will not want to see fallen stock being collecting until it is absolutely safe to do so, particularly as biosecurity standards may vary from area to area. Ian Campbell told Hilary Benn today that fallen stock collection poses an unacceptable risk, but in this hot weather fallen stock will have to be disposed of quickly. “A derogation for a few days to allow burial would be viewed as a sensible decision by the industry.”

Split sites and animal welfare

It is hoped there will be early recognition that animal welfare issues will very swiftly emerge on pig units with split sites. NPA has advised Defra that its flow of information to the regions will need to be first rate so that concerned producers seeking information are given sensible advice that takes into account the local circumstances.

When movement resumes

No news yet on whether movements will be by special or general licence. NPA is seeking early clarification.

Pig industry contacts

Local Animal Health offices may soon be in touch with local stakeholders. "If you know that you are part of the chain for your region, consider being proactive. Make yourself known to you local office. Offer your help," said NPA general manager Barney Kay.

If issues about communications arise remember the NPA website is well read by producers and is at your disposal as, in extremis, is the Traffic Lights and BPISG texting network.

5m Editor