Action plan developed against PRRS in Denmark

09-06-2022 | |
Photo: Mads Armgaard, Danish Agriculture & Food Council
Photo: Mads Armgaard, Danish Agriculture & Food Council

A new strategy to reduce the prevalence of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) in Denmark’s pig production sector has been launched.

Several Danish pig farms have experienced outbreaks of PRRS in recent years. Having witnessed the grave consequences of the disease, a wide range of central players have joined forces in a dedicated effort. These players include the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, Danske Svineslagterier (industry organisation for Danish cooperatives and private slaughterhouses), the Danish Veterinary Association and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

A joint and dedicated effort

According to Christian Fink Hansen, sector director of the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, Sector Pig, joint and dedicated regional efforts are crucial in limiting the disease. This collaboration, he said, aims to improve the health and welfare of animals on Danish pig farms and consequently ”improve the economy of the farmer”. He added that Sector Pig will establish a number of regional eradication committees for pig producers, veterinarians and other advisors to discuss and plan regional measures to minimise the risk of reinfection.

Declaration of PRRS status

One of the cornerstones of the strategy is that the PRRS status of all Danish pig farms is known via a PRRS declaration system whereby all pig farms can declare their antibody status against PRRS.

“The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration supports the effort by implementing the necessary rules and audits on Danish pig farms. We appreciate that we have succeeded in drawing up a joint strategy to help keep Danish pig farms free of PRRS and thereby improve health in the Danish pig industry,” says Charlotte Vilstrup, chief veterinary officer in the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

Slaughterhouses support the strategy

While the strategy primarily requires efforts on-farm, Danske Svineslagterier has also contributed to the new strategy. “This [strategy] will benefit the entire sector and thereby the production of pigs in Denmark,” said Asger Krogsgaard, chairman of Danske Svineslagterier.

Danish Crown, which slaughters about 70% of all Danish pigs, supports the plan and as of 1 January 2023, will introduce a deduction in the price of pigs from PRRS-virus positive farms. In the first 17 weeks that a farm is positive, this deduction will amount to DKK 0.20 per kg, and will subsequently increase gradually.

The eradication of PRRS

During spring/summer, a series of Q&A sessions will be arranged regarding practical matters relating to eradication. In some areas, says the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, it will be crucial that neighbouring farms – as far as possible – eradicate simultaneously to completely eliminate the disease from the area. This is a major undertaking which is expected to run over the coming 3 years.

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist
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