NPA says Defra TB plan for pigs is “over-the-top”

The National Pig Association (NPA) believes that Defra’s plans for tackling bovine TB, on the rare occasions when pigs become infected, are “over-the-top”.

“We do not agree statutory provision should be used to enforce compulsory slaughter of pigs when bovine TB is believed to be present,” said NPA chief executive, Dr Zoe Davies.

She also said that any decision to slaughter “on suspicion” of TB, should be taken by the owner of the pigs and that, as currently occurs, slaughter should only be compulsory when TB is confirmed and only then for the animals that have tested positive.

NPA, in a statement carried on its own website, also voiced its opposition to movement restrictions when TB is suspected in pigs, and the culling of reactor animals and dangerous contacts.

“It is not proportionate to the risk,” said Dr Davies (pictured above). “Restrictions should only be applied when bovine TB has been confirmed by culture unless there is a proven farm history of bovine TB.”

While NPA would accept movement restrictions being applied to a farm in a high-risk area with a previous history of confirmed bovine TB, if multiple lesions were found in a pig, the chief executive pointed out that the majority of pig samples sent for TB testing turn out to be negative.

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