Scotland is taking part in a UK-wide exercise to test measures to control a deadly virus that spreads between pigs.
African Swine Fever (ASF) has been present in parts of Asia and Africa in recent years, leading to the deaths of millions of pigs, and causing significant disruption to the meat trade.
More recently the disease – which poses no risk to human health – has also spread to parts of Eastern Europe through the movement of wild boar.
While there has never been an outbreak of ASF in the UK, all four of its nations are involved in a simulated exercise this week to test plans to deal with the disease.
Exercise Holly will see the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland (DAERA-NI) working together to test contingency plans for a national outbreak of ASF.
In a joint statement, Sheil Voas, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland and her counterparts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said: “The risk of African swine fever arriving in the UK is ever-present and would have a devastating impact on our pigs and pig keepers if it ever reached our shores.
“We regularly test our contingency plans in this way to ensure that we are ready to respond to potential future disease outbreaks.”
They added: “Everyone can do their bit to help stop animal diseases spreading to this country through simple actions such as not bringing any pork products back to the UK and disposing of leftovers and food waste in secure bins that wildlife cannot access.”
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