APHA lab closure raises pig health questions

The Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) is to cease laboratory testing at its facility in Suffolk, a decision which has already been questioned by NPA.

The laboratory in Bury St Edmunds will cease to operate from March 2018, with future APHA testing services being consolidated into six laboratories – Carmarthen, Lasswade, Newcastle, Penrith, Starcross and Weybridge.

The Agency’s planned changes, which are designed to deliver savings of around £1.3 million a year, drew an immediate response from NPA chief executive, Zoe Davies.

“APHA staff at Bury St Edmunds have always provided an excellent service to the pig sector when it comes to rapid diagnosis of disease,” she said. “Its location in one of the biggest pig producing areas of the country has been an important part of this.

“While we understand the pressure on Defra’s budgets and the desire to seek a more efficient way of working within APHA, we will continue to seek assurances this does not compromise our ability to maintain a healthy pig herd.”

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