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ASF risk level raised to medium in the UK
The risk of exposure to the UK’s pig population is still considered to be ‘low’.
Bulgaria reports first outbreak in backyard pigs

The risk of African swine fever (ASF) entering the UK via contaminated pig products has been raised to ‘medium’, following a recent upswing in outbreaks on commercial pig farms in Romania and Poland.

Bulgaria also reported its first outbreak in backyard pigs on 31 August. Four out of seven pigs died and the remainder were culled.

Several thousand tonnes of Romanian-origin meat per annum are consigned to the UK from EU member states.

According to the APHA’s latest risk assessment, the risk of exposure to the UK’s pig population is still considered to be ‘low’.

Since 22 August, Romania has seen 42 new outbreaks in several regions - four of which occurred on commercial pig farms with more than 140,000 pigs on affected premises.

Meanwhile, the disease was detected for the first time in China in early August. The country’s sixth outbreak, on a farm with 459 susceptible pigs, was reported on 31 August in Yanhe Village, Anhui. China’s agriculture ministry has introduced a ban on transporting pigs or pig products from provinces where ASF has been confirmed, and is set to shut down live pig markets in the region.

APHA will reassess the risk to the UK every two weeks. Pig keepers are reminded not to feed swill to their animals and to be aware that visitors to their premises should not have had any recent contact with affected regions.

ASF should be considered as a possible diagnosis, even in single pigs with haemorrhagic lesions, lethargy, skin discolouration or petechiation and high fever. Any suspected cases must be reported to APHA immediately.

 

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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."

 

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News Shorts
New shearing guidance for farmers and contractors

Industry bodies have produced guidance for farmers and contractors on how to handle sheep during shearing to avoid stress and injury.

The guidance includes every step - from the presentation of sheep and facilities for shearing, through to using a contractor and shearers - and aims to ensure shearing is carried out safely, efficiently and with high standards of animal welfare.

Guide co-author Jill Hewitt from the NAAC said: “Shearing is a professional job that takes significant skill. Shearers take their responsibility to protect animal welfare very seriously and it will be a positive step to remind everyone of the importance of working together.’