Late last night I had a notification from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (part of DEFRA) informing me that our holding was within a 10km Control Zone and restrictions had been imposed from 10pm. There had been a suspected outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (which affects pigs, cattle, sheep and other cloven footed livestock) which was being investigated a few miles away. Many will recall the last farm FMD outbreak in the early 2000s which devastated many livestock herds (and livelihoods). So, a warning not to be taken lightly. Such is the concern that I even received a telephone call from the CEO of the British Pig Association this afternoon who was contacting BPA members within the Control Zone.
This evening a further notification was received to the effect that FMD had been ruled out but that further investigations were being conducted for Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD) which has similar symptoms and outcomes but which only affects pigs. Because of this a 10km Control Zone remains in place.
One of the restrictions of the Control Zone is that livestock cannot be moved on or off the farm or holding. Luckily, as I posted on Wednesday, we had already collected two new gilts to join our existing pigs here. Any later and a movement licence would not have been allowed and the move could not have taken place.
This follows a winter of Avian Influenza restrictions which have not long been lifted. And of course a couple of years of COVID 19 restrictions.