Small-scale pig keepers invited to take African swine fever survey

The UK government has launched a survey aimed at small-scale pig keepers today (July 20) as it steps up its campaign to combat the introduction and spread of African swine fever.

It aims to find out more about what small-scale pig keepers already know about the disease, as well as asking about their feeding and biosecurity practices and what sources they refer to for guidance on keeping pigs.

The results will be used to improve the information available to pig keepers to help protect the health of their pigs and the UK pig industry.

African swine fever poses no threat to human health but is fatal for pigs and can be financially devastating for pig keepers.

The disease is currently circulating in parts of Europe and Asia and in the last couple of years, has led to the deaths of millions of pigs worldwide.

There has never been an outbreak of African swine fever in the UK. The risk of exposure to the UK pig population is currently considered to be low but is highly dependent on the level of biosecurity on individual pig premises.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “African swine fever has no cure and there are currently no effective vaccines.

If it were to reach the UK, it would have a devastating impact on commercial pig keepers, small-scale pig keepers and pet pig keepers alike.

“Everyone who keeps pigs can take actions to contribute to keeping African swine fever out of the UK.

“If you are a small-scale pig keeper or keep pigs as pets, please complete the survey to help governments across the UK understand more about your knowledge of the disease and your pig keeping practices. This will help us to provide you with the information you need to protect the health of your pigs and all UK pigs.”

The survey closes on August 31, 2020.