The NGO is helping to raise awareness of the significant risks posed by African swine fever (ASF), which is spreading through continental Europe and could have a devastating impact on the UK pork industry if it arrives on our shores.
African Swine Fever is a highly contagious and usually fatal viral disease of pigs. Having now spread to Belgium, the risk of an introduction of this disease to the UK is causing concern, particularly if it entered the feral pig populations. This could also have an impact on their health and welfare, and Government would be obliged to put in place restrictions on hunting for a minimum period of at least two years.
The Government is therefore working with organisations such as the NGO to urge their members to play an important role in helping to protect the health of our pigs by following government guidelines as well as stringent biosecurity measures when they are visiting European areas.
The virus can survive months to years in smoked, dried, cured and frozen meat and meat products from infected pork or wild boar. Hunters can also inadvertently bring back ASF infection through contaminated boots, clothes, vehicles or equipment.
How you can help keep the UK ASF-free:
Liam Bell, Chairman of the NGO said, “As responsible game shooters, it is vital that we all play our part in helping to keep this terrible disease out of the UK to help protect the health of our pigs. If in any doubt about what to do, comprehensive biosecurity advice and the latest news can be found on Defra’s website as well as the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland equivalents.”
Notes to Editors:
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. The NGO defends and promotes gamekeeping and gamekeepers and works to ensure high standards throughout the profession. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that keepering was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. Today, there are 13,000 members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation. www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk