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Additional clarification on revised pig standards 

 

Q. How soon after being categorised as a Persistent High User of antibiotics do I need to develop an Antibiotic Reduction Plan (ARP)?

A. The Antibiotic Reduction Plan needs to be completed with the vet at the next quarterly vet visit at the latest. For example, if you enter your Q1 eMB data six weeks into Q2 (by the deadline) and you’re categorised as a persistent high user on that report, you will need to do the ARP with your vet at or before your Q3 vet visit if they have already visited in Q2. If your Q2 visit is still to take place, the ARP must be done at that visit (or before). Remember, you must use the Pig Health & Welfare Council antibiotic reduction plan template. You won’t be penalised if you remain a persistent high user, but you do need to show progress against the reduction plan.

Q. Do I need fallen stock storage on my additional sites or can I use the storage at another site within my membership?

A. All sites included within a membership are required to meet all of the Pigs Standards. This means all sites within a membership must have their own fallen stock storage to comply with the requirement that fallen stock is stored in a way that prevents access by vermin and other animals, and ensures any effluent is contained within locked containers.

Q. I have done a vet medicine training course, do I need to do another one?

A. At least one person on the unit who is responsible for overseeing medicines must have taken appropriate training, either online or in-person. Courses completed  between 1st January 2018 and 31st October 2021 do not need to be from our approved list. As long as the content of the course included the use of veterinary medicines it is acceptable, including courses that are focused on other livestock species. Completing the Safe Use of Vet Medicines module offered as part of the AHDB Stockperson Development Scheme is also acceptable. You will need to show a certificate of course attendance or completion to the assessor.

If you completed a training course before January 2018, or, haven’t yet done one, you will need to undergo training and must choose a course from our approved list.

Q. What should a tail biting action plan include?

A. All pig units, including outdoor units, must undertake an annual risk assessment of tail biting risk factors, even if there is no history of tail biting on the unit, if pigs coming onto the unit are already docked or pigs are reared with full tails. Units rearing docked pigs (regardless of whether you dock the pigs yourself or receive them docked) must produce an action plan outlining measures the farm is taking to minimise the risk of tail biting and the need for docking, e.g. trailing lower stocking densities, replenishing enrichment more frequently, seeking advice from a ventilation consultant. This is different to the vice action plan in the Veterinary Health Plan which must outline actions to be taken when a tail biting outbreak occurs, e.g. remove biter pig, spray affected tails.

Q. DO I NEED VISIBLE MARKERS AT ALL VEHICLE ENTRY POINTS INTO BIOSECURE AREAS?

A. The purpose of this requirement is to control the entry of vehicles onto the site to limit the spread of disease. The markers need to be visible at vehicle entry points into the overall site biosecure area, not the specific internal biosecure areas within. The standard is not prescriptive about what the visible markers should be or say – members are free to use whatever works for them, as long as it is clear to drivers that they are entering the site biosecure area.

Q. THE STANDARDS REQUIRE A PERIOD OF AT LEAST SIX HOURS CONTINUOUS DARKNESS WITHIN A 24-HOUR PERIOD. IS THE USE OF NIGHTLIGHTS ALLOWED DURING THE DARK PERIOD?

A. Yes, nightlights can be used during the dark period as the overall light levels would be below 40 lux.

Q. DO I HAVE TO PUT COVERS ON FEED HOPPERS EVEN IF THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF CONTAMINATION BY BIRDS?

A. The standard requires that if feed hoppers are accessible to birds, measures must be in place to minimise contamination of feed stored in the hopper (not the trough/pan). Measures may include use of hopper covers, but members may use other measures instead. If you can demonstrate that the buildings are sufficiently bird-proofed, meaning birds are not able to access the feed hoppers, then the standard is being met. This standard has been introduced with Trichinella-controlled housing conditions in mind, which place a lot of emphasis on preventing contamination of feed and limiting bird access.

Q. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANT DISEASES CHARTER AND DO I NEED TO SIGN UP?

A. Established by AHDB, the charter is an email alert system to provide producers and their vets with timely email alerts in the event of an outbreak of Swine Dysentery or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus (PEDv). All pig members are required to sign up to the charter as of 1 November 2021. If you are not already signed up, you can do so through your PigHub account or by emailing Pig.Health@ahdb.org.uk.

More information about the Charter, is available here. 

You can find answers to questions you might have about the Significant Diseases Charter here.

 

 

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