The National Pig Association (NPA) has called for Brussels to start showing more leadership over the PEDv threat.
Stating that the issue is currently “awash with misinformation and misunderstanding”, NPA’s call for action is linked to the recent confirmed spread of PEDv to the Ukraine, which borders the EU countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
NPA also voiced concern about the scale of misunderstanding surrounding the disease, adding that “some believe the high-pathogenic American strain of PEDv has already reached Germany, France and the Netherlands”.
NPA, of course, regularly makes its voice heard on PEDv in Brussels through Copa, the European farmers’ organisation, but is now considering an additional “direct approach” to the European Commission to raise awareness of the risks of the disease spreading across Europe.
“There is so much cross-boarder activity taking place all the time within the EU, that we need Brussels to focus fully on the risks that exist,” NPA chief executive, Zoe Davies, told Pig World. “Just within the UK, for example, it’s estimated that 20% of all commercial vehicles are from Poland, with the virulence of PEDv unlikely to be hampered by normal vehicle washing processes, if and when they exist.
“Good individual farm biosecurity remains the industry’s best defence against PEDv, but any other actions which can be taken to reduce the risk of the disease spreading, must be considered.”
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has also spoken of its growing concern over PEDv, urging the Irish Government to set up a rapid response unit and to put a contingency plan in place should the disease move even closer to Ireland.
“Although the industry is taking a proactive stance in terms of trying to protect itself, we are very reliant on the Government taking an active role in this also,” said IFA pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty.
“We are calling on DAFM (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) to set up a rapid response unit and to put a contingency plan in place that can be followed in the event of an outbreak. There are 10,000 jobs and one billion Euros worth of an industry dependent on it.”