Vigilance required against African Swine Fever

As African Swine Fever spreads across many Asian and European countries, pig owners in this country are being reminded to be vigilant with biosecurity and not feed pigs uncooked meat.
Monday, 11 November 2019

Will Halliday, Senior Biosecurity Advisor from Beef + Lamb New Zealand says a major threat to New Zealand’s pork industry is from infected meat getting into the non-commercial pig population through the feeding of uncooked food scraps. “This really highlights the dangers of waste feeding to any class of livestock, as contaminated food is the same transmission pathway for diseases like BSE and Foot and Mouth Disease”.

The feeding of contaminated illegally imported meat has been identified as an extremely important risk for the introduction of Foot and Mouth Disease into NZ. BSE was found to be spread among farms in the UK by the feeding of ruminant protein to cows, a practice that is prohibited in NZ and the reason for warning labels on some commercial horse and poultry feeds.

“Many farmers rear pigs, typically for their own consumption. We are asking pig owners and hunters to be extra vigilant for signs of illness or sudden death in pigs, observe good hygienic practices, and comply with animal feeding regulations”. 

Any food waste must be heated to 100 degrees for one hour before being fed to pigs.

Farmers travelling to countries with ASF should stay away from pigs and not come into contact with pigs for at least five days after returning home.

While deadly to pigs, ASF poses no threat to human health.

The virus can survive for months on equipment, boots and clothing so good cleaning, disinfecting and drying practices should be followed, particularly when moving between farms.

Will says symptoms of ASF include decreased appetite, weakness and general lethargy and the skin may be reddened with blotching or have black lesions. The animals may have diarrhoea, vomiting and have difficulty breathing. Death typically occurs within seven to 10 days but can be sudden.

Farmers should contact their vet or the MPI hotline on 0800 80 99 66 if they are concerned about the health of any of their livestock.

Find out more

For more information go to: https://www.nzpork.co.nz/asf/