June 20, 2023


Pig association concerned about UK's preparedness for potential ASF outbreak




The National Pig Association (NPA) has raised concerns in the UK Parliament over the United Kingdom's lack of preparedness for an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in terms of the impact on the vital pork export market. 


The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Eggs, Pigs and Poultry recently held a panel event in the UK Parliament on "Disease Preparedness: Safeguarding the UK's Food Security." The event was hosted by the APPG chair Jim Shannon and chaired by NFU deputy president Tom Bradshaw. They were joined on the panel by Gordon Hickman, head of exotic disease control at Defra, as well as other industry representatives.


Defra Minister for Biosecurity and Borders Lord Benyon delivered the opening speech, reaffirming the UK government's commitment to preventing biosecurity disasters. Other points of discussion included the barriers to vaccines, trade implications and practical implications for farmers, according to NPA senior policy adviser Charlie Dewhirst, who attended the event.


"I raised concerns about the potential trade impact of an ASF outbreak in the UK," he said. "I was pleased to have the opportunity to highlight the NPA's fears about what an ASF outbreak would mean for UK pork exports.


"I stressed that we should be following the example of other countries, like Spain, and discussing the practicalities of an outbreak with our trading partners in anticipation of the disease reaching the UK. We shouldn't be waiting until the horse has bolted and we will continue to raise our concerns with the government."


- Pig World

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