African swine fever threat tackled

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A new campaign was launched this week at the UK’s border to help keep the damaging animal disease African swine fever (ASF) out of the country.

The disease, which poses no threat to human health but is fatal for pigs, has already spread widely across Asia and parts of Central and Eastern Europe. This has led to the deaths of over 800,000 pigs and wild boar in Europe and an estimated four million pigs in Asia, causing global pork prices to rise. If the disease was found in this country, it could have a devastating impact on the UK’s commercial pig stock of five million pigs, as well as the trade of our pork products.

The main ways that the disease can spread are:

Tourists or travellers bringing contaminated pork products with them from infected areas. All travellers are strongly advised to avoid bringing any pork products – including preserved meats, ham or pork sandwiches – back to the UK. Bringing in potentially contaminated pork products from affected regions is an offence – it can result in prosecution and a large fine.

Pig keepers and members of the public feeding catering waste, kitchen scraps or pork products to their animals. It is illegal to do so.

Travellers returning from ASF-affected areas coming into contact with domestic pigs, commercial holdings or smallholdings. The disease can spread via contaminated clothing, footwear or equipment, as well as pork products.

Contaminated vehicles and equipment being taken onto commercial pig premises or workers wearing contaminated clothing or boots when entering pig premises.

The campaign includes a new poster, which will be introduced to UK airports and ports throughout the summer.