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Swine Fever

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information is made available by his Department for pig farmers on the prevention of swine fever. (182047)

DEFRA has published fact sheets which include information on how to recognise the signs of classical swine fever (CSF) and guidance on biosecurity for prevention of the introduction and spread of disease. These are available in hard copy and are distributed at events such as livestock markets and agricultural shows. The fact sheets would also be issued to livestock keepers within CSF protection and surveillance zones should zones be imposed in an outbreak. The fact sheets, along with further comprehensive information for farmers on both the disease and our control policy, can be found on the CSF pages of the DEFRA website. In addition, there is regular engagement between the Government, industry and stakeholders from the pig industry to ensure a common understanding of the risks and the appropriate outbreak response.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the risk of (a) classical swine fever and (b) African swine fever to the UK pork farming industry. (182050)

DEFRA monitors outbreaks of high impact diseases (including classical swine fever (CSF) and African swine fever (ASF)) worldwide and assesses risks to the UK. These assessments are available on the DEFRA website. In 2007 DEFRA produced nine preliminary outbreak assessments on CSF and ASF.

The overall risk of the introduction of these two diseases to the UK has increased over the past few months, but still remains low. This emphasises the importance of strict compliance with EU rules for the trade in live pigs and their products, appropriate enforcement at the border, and compliance with the swill feeding ban in the UK.

If, despite these precautions, CSF or ASF viruses enter the country, the risk of pigs becoming infected has been reduced by the introduction of the ban on swill feeding in May 2001. If a pig is infected, the spread of the disease would be limited by the standard disease control methods DEFRA would put in place, including culling all pigs on an infected premises and dangerous contacts, and movement controls around those premises.