Pigs (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs (PB7950)

Section 1 - Health


23. Biosecurity means reducing the risk of disease occurring or spreading to other animals. Good biosecurity can be obtained through:
  • good management/husbandry;
  • good hygiene;
  • reducing stress in the herd; and
  • effective disease control systems such as vaccination and worming programmes.

Biosecurity results in:

  • farm units being more secure from the introduction of new infectious diseases; and
  • the spread of any diseases on the unit itself being kept to a minimum.

If you and your stock-keepers take proper precautions when you move within the farm or you move animals and equipment, you can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.

24. Incoming stock presents the greatest risk to the health of the herd as regards infectious disease. You should ask the vendor to provide you with information on the health status of the herd and the herd's routine vaccination and other treatments (e.g. worming) or disease prevention measures. You should have isolation facilities so that you can isolate and observe/test incoming stock for a suitable period when they arrive, before they join the rest of the herd.
25. Only essential visitors should be allowed onto the unit and they should follow disinfection procedures and wear unit clothing and footwear. A visitor book should be provided and visitors asked to sign to say they have not been near other pigs or livestock for an agreed period, as stipulated in your herd health and welfare plan. A system should be provided to alert staff of visitors at the gate.
26. Loading facilities and, where possible, feed bins should be sited at the unit perimeter. Vehicles, which visit other pig units, should be kept off the unit wherever possible but where entry is essential, wheels and footwear should be cleansed and disinfected thoroughly.
27. A programme of pest control should be in place for, for example, rodents. Every effort should be made to make housing proof against birds, such as starlings. Domestic pets, feral cats and other wild animals should be discouraged.
28. It is not possible to prevent all airborne infections from entering a unit, but when planning new units these should be sited as far as is practicable from other pig units, as this will reduce the risk of spread of airborne infectious diseases. You can find more information in the Defra publication Better biosecurity provides peace of mind, healthy stock and a more viable business (see the Appendix).
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