On Monday of this week, Mr John McCracken, Ballyrussell Road, Warrenpoint, Newry, was convicted at Newry Magistrates’ Court of one charge of failure to keep a pig herd register, one charge of failure to identify 15 pigs and one charge of failure to complete an Aujeszky’s disease surveillance test.

Mr McCracken pleaded guilty to all charges and was fined £300, a compensation order for £344.12 was awarded and he received a £15 offender levy.

This case arose from discrepancies found during a pig identification, registration and movement inspection by Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs officers while carrying out the Aujeszky’s disease surveillance test on 11 breeding pigs, at a cost of £344.12.

DAERA’s pig traceability system

Pig herd records are an integral part of DAERA’s pig traceability system. They provide the source of much of the information that is recorded on the Animal Public Health & Information System (APHIS).

Accurately maintained pig herd records corroborate and complement the APHIS details and help to maintain public confidence in meat traceability and assists in animal disease control. The failure to maintain satisfactory pig herd records is viewed very seriously as unsatisfactory herd records hamper the detection of illegal pig moves.

Aujeszky’s disease

Aujeszky’s disease is a disease of pigs caused by a herpes virus. Once introduced into a herd, the virus usually remains there and it can continually affect reproductive performance at varying levels. Northern Ireland was officially recognised as Aujeszky’s disease-free in 2012. If lost, it would result in trade restrictions on live pig exports and possible bans on pork exports to third countries. The pig industry in Northern Ireland is approximately worth tens of millions of pounds.