Podcast: Biosecurity from a South African perspective

Podcast: Biosecurity from a South African perspective

In this 52nd episode of the Real P3 podcast, host Dr Casey Bradley speaks to extern, Marc Raath, in South Africa to find out more about challenges in the local pig production sector, and for his views on biosecurity, welfare, and the important matter of tailbiting.

The Real P3 podcast series is an initiative where pork professionals from around the globe share their thoughts, insights, and solutions to their day-to-day challenges in the pig farming and production industry.

Raath, who specialises in animal health and disease diagnostics and biosecurity, has been in the agricultural industry for almost 20 years, and for the last 7 focussed specifically on the commercial pig industry. He is also busy with his Master’s degree in pig welfare, is writing a thesis on tail-biting, and is passionate about animal diseases and epidemiology.

Pig production in South Africa

Raath shared his experience working in the pig production sector in South Africa, and shares some pitfalls that producers struggle with from a biosecurity and disease health management perspective. He explained that the right protocols are in place and are of an exceptional standard, but the problem comes in following those protocols 100%, all of the time. He touched on cultural differences and the level of education of many of the workers and highlighted the importance of gaining the trust of employees, who a producer relies on.

Dr Bradley asks Raath about the ‘pig compartment system’, which is not mandatory but, according to Raath, needed: “We are endemic to most of the controlled devastating diseases in livestock.”

Raath also highlights some major changes seen in recent years in the local pig production sector, including more emphasis on vehicle disinfection, more effort going into bird proofing, and changing fencing requirements.

Bradley and Raath also spent some time talking about tail-biting, which is a major problem. Geared with a huge amount of knowledge on this subject, Raath shares some interesting insights.


Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist