“It is in everyone’s interest – particularly that of pig producers themselves – that we keep the outbreak of swine fever under control,” Minister of Agriculture Nick Brown said today.

“We must prevent the disease spreading because of the devastating effect it can have on pig farms. If we can convince our international trading partners that we are taking effective action we will be better able to keep international trade controls to the minimum necessary.

“This means that the controls that were imposed when the disease struck will be relaxed only when I and my veterinary advisers are convinced that it is safe to do so.

“EU rules allow us, after a set period of time, to consider issuing licences allowing pigs to go for slaughter from the surveillance zones. The rules clearly require, as they did in other EU countries which have had outbreaks in recent years, that meat from these animals should be cooked before it goes on to the market. If producers, processors and retailers can show that this kind of operation would be viable then I will consider issuing the necessary licences. But I will do so only if this does not cut across the key objective of controlling the disease. I would have to be confident that movements could be properly controlled and that the disease situation on the area involved had stabilised.”

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