An EU committee meeting could see the ban on English pig exports eased if Britain can show the recent outbreak of swine fever has been limited to a certain area.
Ministry of Agriculture officials are working to contain the outbreak of swine fever after the EU said it would review its export ban on British pigs next week.
The European Commission banned the export of live pigs and semen on 14 August after an outbreak of the disease was discovered for the first time in 14 years.
If the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food can show the disease is limited to a certain area, the EU’s Standing Veterinary Committee could reduce the scope of the ban that runs until 31 August.
The committee will meet next – Tuesday 22 August – and has a number of options available to it, including increasing the ban’s scope if they deem that action necessary.
MAFF’s priority is to contain the outbreak and that information that will be taken to the Veterinary Committee on Tuesday, who may decide to ease the ban which is one of the options available and is a decision that will be taken when all the information has been collated.
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Swine fever has already been identified at five farms, including the Norfolk breeding centre which is believed to be the source of the outbreak.
A total of 12,000 pigs, all the animals affected by the initial outbreak have now been slaughtered in a bid to contain the outbreak.
Government veterinary surgeons were still awaiting the results of tests on another farm supplied by the centre which is believed to be infected.
It also is understood that both farms in Lincolnshire and Derbyshire have links with the East Anglian site where there have been confirmed cases.
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