Government warning reminds pig owners not to feed household waste

Pig owners have been reminded by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, not to feed waste household food to their pigs.

The reminder comes as the battle to keep Ireland free from the disease African swine fever (ASF) continues.

ASF is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal. The disease can result in devastating losses for pig farmers and the pig industry.

Minister Creed warned pig owners: “ASF can survive for months in cooked or cured meats which – if fed to pigs – can cause the disease.

A simple ham sandwich, salami or meat product could bring this disease to our doorstep and it would be devastating.

Continuing, Minister Creed outlined: “ASF continues to spread across the world. The disease kills nearly all of the pigs it affects and has serious consequences for pig farmers, meat processors and exporters in affected countries.”

10 EU member states are now affected by the disease as well as many other non EU countries including China – which is one of the largest producers of pigmeat in the world.

The minister noted: “There is no food safety of public health risk” but stressed that an outbreak of the disease would have “an enormous impact” on our pig industry.

Pigs become infected by eating feed products that contain the virus or coming in contact with clothes or boots that farmers, hunters and others have been wearing while handling infected pigs.

There is no cure or vaccine available for ASF and the disease is spreading across the world.

Ireland is currently ASF free. However, Minister Creed has stressed: “We cannot be complacent. It is vital we act together to keep this disease out of Ireland for the sake of our pigs, our pig farmers and our agri-food industry. Everyone has a role to play.

Don’t let anyone come in contact with your pigs if they have recently visited a country affected with ASF.

“Ensure your pigs are fenced in, in such a way that they cannot get access to litter or waste food that has been discarded.”

Concluding, the minister urged pig owners to know the source of equipment and machinery that is brought onto their farms and to never use equipment or machinery that may have come from a country affected by ASF.