Health scheme returns to help cut hidden costs

Lauren Turner joined AHDB in August 2017 as the pork processing manager. She graduated from Harper Adams University in 2016, where she was awarded a pig industry scholarship

It is time to begin ‘spring cleaning’ disease out of your unit with the relaunched Pig Health Scheme, scheduled to begin abattoir assessments next month.

We thank you for your patience for the awaited relaunch of the scheme and it is fantastic to have received such enthusiasm from a number of stakeholders.

Identifying disease at the point of slaughter is hugely beneficial to the industry, and the country as a whole, and this is where the Pig Health Scheme fits in as an invaluable resource. We would not be at this exciting stage without the commitment and continued support of vets and processors through their hard work and guidance in reviewing and improving the scheme.

For those wondering what the Pig Health Scheme is, let me explain. Specially trained veterinary assessors assess 12 conditions in the lungs, heart, liver, tail and skin.

The assessments are provided in the form of reports which can help explain any changes and may help identify early disease problems. Reports are sent to producers signed up to the scheme within two working days of the assessment. This allows producers to have up- to-date information on their herd’s health status, allowing prompt action, where necessary.

But it is not just the major diseases that need to be monitored. Some diseases may have no obvious signs in live animals and others with mild signs can become established on farm and quickly considered as the ‘norm’.

These insidious diseases are costly. Over time, losses will be significant as growth rates are reduced and medicine use increased.

Enhanced quality assurance, delivered by experts in Vetscore, has been built into the new scheme. They have trained their team to make sure there is consistency when they, in turn, train the abattoir assessors.

Why not sign up today? It is free. The Pig Health Scheme can help unmask the diseases that are costing you money and provide you with an early warning system for disease.

Register via your online Pig Hub account, the same system used for pig movements, to start receiving your herd’s Pig Health Scheme reports once assessments begin.

Your pigs will be automatically assessed if they go to a participating abattoir on the assessment day, but unless you have signed up to receive the Pig Health Scheme reports, you’ll be missing out!

A list of assessment dates at the 11 participating abattoirs will shortly be available on AHDB’s website.

If you would like to get in touch, or would like additional copies of the Pig Health Scheme guide, email lauren.turner@ahdb.org.uk or phone 02476 478977.

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