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NPA issues complaint over Amazon swill feeding advert
“A company as big and influential as Amazon has a huge responsibility to make sure that its customers are informed correctly" - Duncan Berkshire, Pig Veterinary Society. 
Advert appears to encourage practice banned in UK since 2001

The National Pig Association (NPA) has issued a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an advert for Amazon’s Echo Dot.

The advert is being shown in cinemas across the UK and features a small boy with his pet pig. During the commercial, the boy gives the pig leftovers from his dinner plate.

In her complaint to the APA, NPA chief executive Zoe Davis points out that this is classed as swill feeding - a practice banned in the UK since the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak.

With the UK on high-alert for African Swine Fever - which, like FMD, can be spread via infected meat - she calls on the ASA to pull the advert and to keep ‘ASF and other awful notifiable diseases out of the UK pig population.’

“What really concerns us, is not just the fact that the ad appears to encourage an illegal act, but the fact that we have another disease spreading through the EU, all over China and several other Asian countries called African swine fever,” Zoe writes.

“We do not have the disease in the UK and we are working really hard with other industry groups and the government to try and keep it out by attempting to educate the public about the illegality and the risk of feeding kitchen scraps to pigs.”

She continued: “This advert undermines all those efforts and because of the advertising budget, will be seen by a much wider audience. We also have a large smallholder and pet pig community in the UK and we know from studies that feeding kitchen scraps, despite being illegal is still practised, so the risk is already present.”

Her words were echoed by vet Duncan Berkshire of the Pig Veterinary Society, who also complained to the ASA about the advert.

He said: “There are huge efforts coming from the pig sector and Government to make people, especially unsuspecting members of the public with small holdings and pet pigs, aware of the risks that this practice puts the UK pig population at, along with making them aware that they are breaking the law.

“A company as big and influential as Amazon has a huge responsibility to make sure that its customers are informed correctly and you have made a big mistake here, portraying something that is illegal in an advert that will be aimed to be watched by potentially millions of people.”

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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News Shorts
ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.