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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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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”