African swine fever and outdoor farming of pigs.
This opinion describes outdoor farming of pigs in the EU, assesses the risk of African swine fewer (ASF) introduction and spread associated with outdoor pig farms and proposes biosecurity and control measures for outdoor pig farms in ASF-affected areas of the EU. Evidence was collected from Member States (MSs) veterinary authorities, farmers' associations, literature and legislative documents. An Expert knowledge elicitation (EKE) was carried out to group outdoor pig farms according to their risk of introduction and spread of ASF, to rank biosecurity measures regarding their effectiveness with regard to ASF and propose improvements of biosecurity for outdoor pig farming and accompanying control measures. Outdoor pig farming is common and various farm types are present throughout the EU. As there is no legislation at European level for categorising outdoor pig farms in the EU, information is limited, not harmonised and needs to be interpreted with care. The baseline risk of outdoor pig farms for ASFV introduction and its spread is high but with considerable uncertainty. The Panel is 66-90% certain that, if single solid or double fences were fully and properly implemented on all outdoor pig farms in areas of the EU where ASF is present in wild boar and in domestic pigs in indoor farms and outdoor farms (worst case scenario not considering different restriction zones or particular situations), without requiring any other outdoor-specific biosecurity measures or control measures, this would reduce the number of new ASF outbreaks occurring in these farms within a year by more than 50% compared to the baseline risk. The Panel concludes that the regular implementation of independent and objective on-farm biosecurity assessments using comprehensive standard protocols and approving outdoor pig farms on the basis of their biosecurity risk in an official system managed by competent authorities will further reduce the risk of ASF introduction and spread related to outdoor pig farms.