Specialised guides to help cope with an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) have been produced by BPEX on behalf of the Pig Health and Welfare Council.

The first batch of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been uploaded to the BPEX website.

Ultimately, there will be about 12 of them and they will all be updated regularly as the situation changes and knowledge of how to control PED improves.

BPEX veterinary manager Martin Smith, who has coordinated the SOPs, said: “In the event of PED arriving on our shores, these documents will outline best practice and methods of control.

“They will apply to all producers, either indoor or outdoor, processors and the entire allied industry.

“The dozen SOPs will cover dealing with visitors on-site and vehicles, plus one about manure and another dealing with how fallen stock should be handled.”

They are based on the experiences of the Canadian industry, where they have had some success controlling the disease using strict biosecurity, which is at the core of each of the documents.

Mr Smith said: “The main purpose is to detail what actions each area of the industry needs to take and when, and they will be posted on the BPEX website for people to familiarise themselves with them.

“We are going to be producing a decision tree for producers in the event of an outbreak. It will be a step-by-step guide showing what to do. There will also be flow charts of what information needs to be given to whom and when, and these will be available soon.

“Things are slightly different for smallholders, so a booklet is being produced for them and another covering what actions hauliers need to take – the aim is to cover the entire industry. The Canadians have already demonstrated good biosecurity, practised by the whole industry, can contain and control PED.”

The SOPs are the first step in preparing to cope with exotic and emerging disease. The next is a disease charter for producers, which will have a vital role to play in the event of an outbreak. This is due to be launched this month.

BPEX is the organisation for pig levy payers in England and is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

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