We need to start to learn to live alongside wildlife and accept it is all our responsibility to minimise disease occurrence across all species. Currently in the UK wildlife is being persecuted in unprecedented levels; all the following are regularly targeted:
So it is no surprise that wild boar also find themselves under fire and we regularly see scaremongering related to wild boar and their part in, although very minimal, the possible spread of African swine fever (ASF) to the UK.
While the general public have a big part to play in not spreading disease responsibilities also lie with the farming community to protect their 'stock' accordingly to avoid direct contact with wild animals.
The latest information from Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) states:
"How ASF spreads
The disease is highly contagious. It can spread if healthy pigs:
• eat infectious meat or meat products - the virus survives for a long time in cooked or frozen meat
• have contact with infected pigs or their faeces or body fluids
• have contact with anything contaminated with the virus - such as people, clothing, vehicles and other equipment
Prevent ASF spreading
You should practice strict biosecurity to prevent the disease spreading. This includes:
• wearing protective clothing and boots, and providing these for anyone coming onto your premises
• cleaning and disinfecting vehicles and equipment that you’ve used in areas where pigs are
• disposing of leftovers or waste food in secure bins that pigs or wildlife cannot access
Do not feed pigs food waste
It’s illegal to feed catering or domestic food waste to pigs or wild boar. This is because there’s a risk of spreading disease. Catering waste includes food from vegetarian and vegan kitchens. This is because there’s a risk of cross contamination from other food. Domestic food waste includes:
• kitchen waste or scraps, such as leftovers from meals
• raw, partially or fully cooked meat
• meat that’s been cured, dried, smoked or frozen
• fish, including shellfish
• dog and cat food
You should dispose of leftovers, waste food and any packaging in secure bins so that pigs or wildlife cannot access it. You should not take meat or meat products into areas where pigs are kept, or where wild boar live.”
If the correct precautions are taken then the risks of disease occurring, and spreading, with all species of wildlife are minimised. We don't need to cull every species of wildlife just because there is a slight risk of disease.
We want to see all species, badgers, foxes, deer, birds of prey and wild boar thrive without the threat of daily persecution or scaremongering.