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PSA, in one year the area affected by infection has more than doubled

"The spotlight has unfortunately been turned off on this health emergency," says Francesco Feliziani, Head of the National Swine Fever Laboratory.

31, Jan 2023

“Unfortunately, the spread of ASF (African swine fever, ed.) is registering a worrying acceleration: in recent days an infected wild boar carcass was found on the border between Piedmont and Emilia Romagna, and this can only increase the fear about the danger the situation gets out of hand and invests an area where pig farms destined for PDO production are widespread”.

Francesco Feliziani, Head of the National Swine Plague Reference Laboratory at the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Umbria and the Marches based in Perugia, does not hesitate to point out that a year after the appearance of the first case of ASF in our country, unfortunately, the situation has improved despite the containment strategies adopted which evidently have not proved to be effective and above all decisive, "so much so - he adds - that within a year the area affected by the infection has more than doubled and at this point speaking of a change of pace in actions to combat the disease is at least a duty".

The health threats looming over pig farms, starting right from the ASF, will be one of the topics at the center of Suinicoltura Congress, the most important event dedicated to pig farming organized by EV Edizioni Veterinarie srl, scheduled in Cremona on 27 February 2023 starting from 9 am, ( theme that will be debated by Francesco Feliziani himself (go to the programme)

“At an international level, scientific research is working hard to arrive at the availability of a vaccine against ASF as soon as possible – underlines Feliziani – but unfortunately at present we do not have immediately usable results. To this we must add the lack of attention that the media have recently paid to this emergency, underestimating its seriousness and often leaving more room for ideological positions that intend to defend the presumed well-being of wild boars, leaving in the shade the demands of the productive world which evidently have a scarce appeal also on public opinion. This is a big problem because instead it would be necessary to guarantee correct information that does not demonize intensive farming, placing the absolute priority of the productive world, which is animal welfare, at the center of attention, towards which farmers are directing many resources also on the impetus of very stringent national and community legislation. Then there is the issue of biosecurity which goes hand in hand with adequate vaccination strategies aimed at preventing the spread of diseases on the farm that can compromise the health of the animals and consequently the profitability of the farmers. Biosecurity – continues Feliziani – represents a large investment not only in intensive farming but also in extensive and family farming: in fact, for each type it is necessary to use a specific approach because the context in which it operates is different. However, one thing must be clear: an adequate biosecurity intervention cannot concern the individual farm but must integrate with the territory and the various production realities that surround it, only in this way is it possible to identify the potential risks to intervene with adequate and effective prevention " .

Doctor Feliziani, in the strategic management of infectious diseases, with respect to the foreign marketing of our PDO pig production, until now there has always and only been talk of regionalization. Recently, there has been talk of compartmentalization. What is the difference?

“We are talking about a highly topical issue in which the approach must change profoundly. With regionalization, the criterion adopted is that of territoriality, while compartmentalization focuses on the protection of those companies that offer adequate biosecurity guarantees, effectively excluding them from any restrictions imposed by importing countries. This could especially benefit large farms, but let's not forget that the pig sector is at the center of a major transformation where the fight against infectious diseases can only be won with broader strategies. Let's take PSA as a reference again. Anyone who thinks it's a problem that will resolve itself or pass silently is making a big mistake. Instead, it is a painful and onerous problem on which farmers are unable to adequately make their voices heard. Refreshments are often invoked to help companies in the sector, but instead there would be a need for an investment policy on biosafety to prevent damage related to the circulation of infectious diseases, and for this reason the need to increase the level of awareness among operators through comprehensive and accurate information. Intensive farming

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