Chief Vet warns hauliers of risk of bringing swine fever into UK

Hauliers have been told to take action to reduce risk of ASF reaching the UK
Hauliers have been told to take action to reduce risk of ASF reaching the UK

The Chief Veterinary Officer of the UK has warned hauliers of the risks of bringing African swine fever into the UK.

Christine Middlemiss has written to the Road Haulage Association, the Freight Transport Association, the British Retail Consortium and the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

She stresses the need for everyone travelling between the continent and the UK, including all types of hauliers, to take "several precautions to reduce the risk of ASF entering the UK".

The letter from the Chief Vet and a poster offering guidance to hauliers are the latest steps in a communication campaign involving Defra, the National Pig Association and others to raise awareness among relevant sectors and the wider public about the current severe risks posed by African swine fever (ASF)

The associations have sent the poster explaining why there a heightened risk associated with ASF and what they should and should not do to minimise the risk.

Advice to hauliers in the poster includes:

• PLEASE DO NOT bring pork, wild boar meat or meat products back to the UK from affected areas.

• USE A SECURE BIN to dispose of waste food – avoid dropping meat products.

• NEVER feed pigs or wild boar with meat or meat products – THIS IS ILLEGAL.

• AVOID CONTACT with wild boar found dead or sick, and the area near them

It also provides detailed instructions on how to clean and disinfect vehicles.

The advice comes as Belgian authorities plan a cull of wild boar to prevent a further spread of ASF. A total of 114 dead wild boars have been diagnosed with the deadly disease.

China has also been suffering its most serious case of African swine fever yet, further damaging the country's cherished $1 trillion pig industry.