The British Pig Health Scheme (BPHS) has been suspended after AHDB has found that data currently collected from it is not consistent with historical data.
AHDB said this had resulted ‘some scepticism of the robustness of the system among producers and vets’. As a result, the scheme, which aims to feed back information collected at abattoirs to producers, has temporarily ceased.
There will now be a new tender, with the scheme set to be halted until well into 2018, NPA strategy director Mick Sloyan told the NPA producer group at its latest meeting in London last week.
AHDB has committed to funding a new scheme for three years. It has sought opinion from users and said it had been ‘clearly told that the scheme is hugely valuable and needs to continue’.
The contract with the current provider, Hallmark, came to an end last week and a new tender will be announced after the following activities have been completed:
- Nov/Dec – review and develop training manual, assessment criteria and report structure
- Dec/Jan – reset base line figures used for assessments
- Feb/Mar – advertise the new tender.
Hallmark, based near Stroud in Gloucestershire, took over the contract from Vetscore just over a year ago, following a tender.
The NPA producer group expressed concern at the change of provider at the time, insisting while there were clearly ‘some good savings to be had, this must not be at the expense of accurate quality data’.
In response to this latest announcement, the producer group again stressed the importance of ensuring the data coming back from the abattoirs is accurate.
NPA producer group chairman Richard Lister said: “We are glad the scheme has now been suspended as there’s no point wasting levy payers’ money on something we don’t trust – we already waste enough money on CCIR.
“AHDB have done the right thing in pausing, so we can re-set the assessments and get the tender right. We hope that as a result of the tender process, the next contractors will provide good value and robust data.”