Scotland was yesterday playing catch-up with the rest of the UK in making the virulent disease porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) notifiable – meaning it will soon be mandatory for pig keepers to report any suspected case of the infection to Quality Meat Scotland.
The move, designed to protect the national herd from the ravages of the disease which has been spreading around the globe, will, subject to parliamentary approval, come into force on 2 March.
The favoured approach of the industry in a recent consultation, the precaution will bring Scotland into line with the rest of the UK where similar arrangements have been in place since December of last year.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: “PED does not affect humans but can be deadly for piglets, and we must do all we can to protect Scotland’s £95 million pig industry from any potential risk.”
Gordon McKen, of Scottish Pig Producers, said: “We are all prepared to go and this decision allows us to progress with the plans to protect the Scottish pig herd.”
Kevin Gilbert, chairman of NFU Scotland’s pigs working group, said it would ensure a quick response in the case of an outbreak.
“We believe that introducing notifiable status for PED will ensure reporting and communication is embedded within our pig sector and, in the worst case scenario of an outbreak, it would trigger an immediate response involving producers, hauliers and processors to shut down the disease spread,” he said.