Following a meeting of the National Pig Health Council (NPHC), IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Pat O’Flaherty said ‘Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea caused enormous losses on farms in America, Canada and Mexico in 2014 killing millions of pigs and leaving farm families devastated.
O’Flaherty added that the disease has now been confirmed in the EU and it is spreading fast in the cold weather. Although the disease carried no public health importance, should it enter Irish farms, our industry will be completely decimated.
National Pig Health Council Chairman Pat Kirwan, PVP, said ‘At the meeting of the NPHC a number of measures were agreed to limit the risk of entry of the virus into Ireland. These measures include:
1. An initial 3 month voluntary ban on the importation of live Pigs or Semen (including for shows and specialist breeds).
2. An initial 3 month ban on the export of live pigs for slaughter to infected countries
3. An initial 3 month voluntary ban on the sale of plasma protein/blood plasma products or products containing these substances.
4. A recommendation that all staff returning to work after the Christmas break must prove that they have been back in the country for at least 3 days. These staff should also be provided with new clothing and foot ware.
5. Biosecurity on pig farms / feed mills to be increased.
The IFA Pigs Chairman said although the industry is taking a proactive stance in terms of trying to protect itself, we are very reliant on the Government taking an active role in this also.
“We are calling on DAFM to set up a rapid response unit and to put a contingency plan in place that can be followed in the event of an outbreak. There are 10,000 jobs and one billion Euros worth of an industry dependent on it,” he said.
The National Pig Health Council will meet again in early January.