NFU Scotland calls for immediate halt to pork imports

Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

The National Famers’ Union (NFU) Scotland has written to the UK government calling for immediate action to stop imports of pork into the UK from EU countries with confirmed cases of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Writing the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice, the union‘s president Martin Kennedy said:

“I urge you to take action to prevent devastation to our pig sector and stop imports of pork from EU countries with ASF with immediate effect.

“Since January 2021, no checks have been carried out on EU pork imports to the UK. At a time when there is a serious biosecurity risk to our country, this can’t be allowed to continue.

ASF is moving fast across Europe and we have had reports that the situation is worsening. It is spreading across Germany, is in Belgium, Romania, Poland and is now not far from France.

“The UK government has taken no action to date due to concerns about breaking compliance with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. We have been told that action would be permitted if Europe is having difficulties in controlling disease outbreaks.

“Following discussions with European colleagues, this is clearly now the case.

“I am in no doubt that should the situation have been reversed, our exports would have been stopped entering Europe many weeks ago,” the letter continued.

“Unless action is taken soon, the serious risk of ASF entering the UK remains. The UK government must act quickly. Around 40% of the meat consumed in the UK is pork and the economic output of pig farmers in Scotland is significant.”

African Swine Fever​

African Swine Fever is a severe viral infection that has almost a 100% fatal rate for pigs. It does not however, pose any risk to humans

Since December, there have been almost 50 detected ASF cases in Germany, the German federal agriculture ministry has said, although most all in wild boars.

In November 2021, an ASF outbreak in a German domestic pig herd in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was officially confirmed.

The control measures provided for by EU and national law were taken in response to this outbreak, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Germany note.

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