The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the news that African swine fever has been found in two wild boars in Belgium has, understandably, put pig producers on alert.
UFU deputy president, David Brown, said: “There has never been a case of African swine fever in the UK and it does not affect humans. However, it is potentially fatal to pigs and if the disease ever were to reach the UK it could have a devastating impact on the industry.”
While the risk to pigs in Northern Ireland is low, it is a concern that the disease has spread as far west as Belgium. The UFU is encouraging pig producers to keep a close eye on their animals.
“Pig producers and those involved in the pig supply chain should take this opportunity to review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans. DAERA has published advice and guidance, which includes maintaining strict biosecurity protocols on farm; not feeding food scraps to pigs; and only purchasing new stock from reliable sources,” said the UFU deputy president.
Early symptoms of the disease in pigs include a high temperature, dullness and going off food.
Mr Brown said: “The risk of African swine fever here is low, however, we would urge producers to not be complacent and if you have any concerns about the health of your herd contact your vet and local DVO immediately.”