Spain wants more bio-security against ASF on pig farms

Spain believes that biosecurity measures in livestock and agriculture should be tightened up. According to Spanish Agriculture Minister Luis Planas, biosecurity on farms must be expanded to prevent the spread of animal diseases such as bird flu and African swine fever. 

The European animal health authorities EFSA have already imposed export and transport restrictions on Germany, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania against the spread of African swine fever.

“Spain is Europe's largest pig producer, a position that must be maintained, at the national level and in the international markets,” emphasized Planas in an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE. 

He said African Swine Fever poses a “potential threat” to the Spanish pig industry. The closest countries that already have ASF are Germany and Italy, so “great care in biosecurity and control is needed”. Planas also called for extreme caution when importing and transporting animals and feed from ASF countries. 

Furthermore, Minister Planas says that another animal disease, bird flu, is almost permanently present on the Iberian Peninsula, with the number of outbreaks being much higher than before. Spain has reported 32 cases of H5N1 outbreaks in poultry farms so far this year. The latest outbreak was at a turkey farm in Huelva, where about 15,000 birds were culled. 

Planas stressed that avian influenza is a disease directly related to migratory birds, so "biosecurity and isolation measures on poultry farms should be strengthened to prevent the spread," for example with large-scale vaccinations, Planas said. He pointed out that a possible vaccine against bird flu is being worked on at European level.