Pig producers are being urged to put up signs warning the public not to feed their pigs due to risk of spreading diseases, such as African swine fever.
One of the most likely routes for viruses like ASF to reach pigs if it gets into the country is for members of the public, either deliberately or accidentally, to feed pigs infected meat. This has been identified as the most likely cause of the 2000 Classical swine fever outbreak.
It particularly applies to outdoor pig units near roads, especially lay-bys, public footpaths and any indoor or outdoor unit close to a public right of way.
Free signs are available from AHDB Pork. Email: [email protected] to request them.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “We know there are many ways the ASF virus could get into the country, so it is absolutely critical that the pig industry takes all the precautions it can to keep it away from pigs.
“We urge all producers, particularly those with units next to roads, lay-bys and public footpaths to put up the signs and send a clear message to the general public.”
AHDB is also running a social media campaign urging the public to #KeepWildBoarWild
Another possible route of entry of the virus is the potential for feral boar, particularly in the Forest of Dean, to access contaminated meat, that has been discarded, or even deliberately fed, by the public.
The campaign stresses that although feeding wild boar may seem helpful, ‘it can be dangerous for their health and spread diseases that affect all pigs’. It warns that boar soon become used to being fed and may then venture out of the forest and into local towns, raiding bins and wreaking havoc on the road.
The NPA is calling for the Government to review its outdated feral pig plan and take more responsibility for the management of the UK’s growing feral pig population.