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AHDB Pork Blog

Helping cut hidden health costs by Lauren Turner


It’s time to begin spring cleaning disease out of your unit with the relaunched Pig Health Scheme, scheduled to begin abattoir assessments this month.

Identifying disease at the point of slaughter is hugely beneficial to the industry and the country as a whole and this is where the Pig Health Scheme fits. We would not be at this exciting stage without the commitment and continued support of vets and processors, through their hard work and guidance in reviewing and improving the scheme. 

For those wondering what the Pig Health Scheme is, let me explain. Specially trained veterinary assessors assess twelve different conditions in the lungs, heart, liver, tail and skin. The assessments are provided in the form of reports which can help explain any changes and may help identify early disease problems. Reports are sent to producers signed up to the scheme within two working days of the assessment. This enables producers to have up-to-date information on their herd’s health status, allowing prompt action, where necessary.

But it’s not just the major diseases that need to be monitored. Some diseases may have no obvious signs in live animals and others, with mild signs, can become established on farm and quickly considered as the ‘norm’. These insidious diseases are costly. Over time, losses will be significant as growth rates are reduced and medicine use increased.

Enhanced quality assurance, delivered by experts in Vetscore, has been built into the new Pig Health Scheme. They have trained their team to make sure there is consistency when they, in turn, train the abattoir assessors. 

Why not sign up today? Improve your herd health by taking advantage of this free scheme. The Pig Health Scheme can help unmask the diseases that are costing you money and provide you with an early warning system for disease. Simply register via your online Pig Hub account, the same system used for pig movements, to start receiving your herd’s Pig Health Scheme reports once assessments begin.

Your pigs will be automatically assessed if they go to a participating abattoir on the assessment day, but unless you’ve signed up to receive the Pig Health Scheme reports, you’ll be missing out.

A list of assessment dates at the eleven participating abattoirs is available on AHDB’s website: 

If you would like to get in touch, or would like a copy of the Pig Health Scheme guide, email or phone 02476 478977. 

By AHDB Pork at 27 Feb 2019, 12:44 PM


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