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Union asks UK to stop pork imports from some EU countries

The National Farmers Union of Scotland is demanding the U.K. stop importing pork from countries with African swine fever.

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ChristianOstmo |

National Farmers Union of Scotland says imports of pork from countries that have confirmed cases of African swine fever puts United Kingdom pig sector at risk

The National Farmers Union (NFU) of Scotland is demanding the United Kingdom (U.K.) government stop imports of pork from EU countries with confirmed cases of African swine fever (ASF).

ASF has been confirmed in Poland, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia and Ukraine.

In a statement on its website, NFU Scotland said that, “without action, the risk of ASF entering the U.K. remains high and, if it does, it has the economically important potential to devastate the domestic pig sector.”

In a letter to George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on December 3, NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said:

“Since January 2021, no checks have been carried out on EU pork imports to the U.K. 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 U.K. 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.

“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. Unless action is taken soon, the serious risk of ASF entering the U.K. remains. The U.K. 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.”

So far this year, more than 1,700 outbreaks have been confirmed among domestic pigs in Europe as of November 21, according to the Animal Disease Information Notification System from the European Commission. ASF cases have been recorded in 10 countries. The EC does not record data on the situation in Russia through this system. For comparison, 1,240 ASF outbreaks in 10 states were registered with the EC System during the whole of 2020.

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