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The British pig health schemes: integrated systems for large-scale pig abattoir lesion monitoring
  1. M. J. Sanchez-Vazquez, DVM, MSc, MRCVS1,
  2. W. D. Strachan, BSc, MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS2,
  3. D. Armstrong, MVB, MRCVS3,
  4. M. Nielen, DVM, PhD, DipECVPH4 and
  5. G. J. Gunn, BVMS, DipECVPH, DipECBHM, MRCVS1
  1. Scottish Agricultural College, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JG, UK
  2. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Ellesfield Avenue, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK
  3. BPEX, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL, UK
  4. Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.151, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. E-mail for correspondence manuel.sanchez{at}sac.ac.uk

Pig health schemes based on abattoir inspections provide an integrated system to optimise the postmortem detection and the reporting of pathological lesions. In Great Britain, two initiatives have been implemented by the pig industry: Wholesome Pigs Scotland (WPS) and the BPEX Pig Health Scheme (BPHS). These schemes record the presence of a range of pathological lesions detected by means of detailed inspection of the pluck and the skin of the slaughtered pigs. The lesions are those associated with a reduction in performance traits or are indicators of animal welfare problems. This paper aims to provide an overview of the objectives behind the BPHS and their activities, outlining similarities and differences between WPS and BPHS on five main operational topics: the lesions monitored, the administration of the schemes, flow of the information, inspection strategies and the major idiosyncratic characteristics of the schemes. These initiatives inform individual producers and their veterinarians of the occurrence of pathological conditions affecting their pig herds. Additionally, they offer the added value of providing nationwide disease monitoring information and have the potential to be a useful surveillance tool for emerging and enzootic conditions.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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