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New adviser to ensure healthy pig sector

A new nationwide pig health project has progressed with the appointment of a new Pig Veterinary Adviser.

Experienced vet Iain Mortimer has been appointed to work with the industry and national organisations to achieve and maintain a high health status for the Scottish pig sector.

Beginning in May, funding for the position comes from the £1 million package announced in August last year by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead, after consultation with the Scottish pig industry.

Iain Mortimer has a wide experience in veterinary practice in the UK, Ireland and Australia, with a particular interest in epidemiology and informatics.

Most recently employed by Elanco Animal Health as their veterinary consultant, he worked with BPEX to develop the systems that extended the innovative Wholesome Pigs (Scotland) disease surveillance programme to the rest of the UK.

Andy McGowan, Head of Industry Development at QMS, said: “Achieving success in regional disease eradication requires the coordination of numerous individual veterinary practices across Scotland and in order to do this, we need someone with the credibility and technical knowledge to gain their cooperation.

“I believe Iain has the right combination of practical veterinary experience and pig epidemiology to make a rapid start in our national efforts to combat some of the most common pig diseases.”

Welcoming the appointment, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead said: “In recognition of the particular challenges facing the Scottish pig industry I made additional funding of £1m available to QMS.

“I’m delighted that Donald and his team have moved so quickly to secure the expertise of Iain Mortimer to take forward the task of improving the health status of the Scottish pig herd.

“Our pig producers already display excellent husbandry skills; this appointment allows us to use that platform to further enhance the sustainability of the sector through addressing a number of production-related conditions.”

In addition to the appointment of the veterinarian adviser, other projects that have been given the go-ahead for funding from the £1 million were: 

  • A pig business network to improve benchmarking, collaboration and efficiencies across the supply chain
  • Provision of additional support for the QMS pork promotion campaign
  • Research into pigmeat labelling
  • New guidance and one-to-one advice on slurry and waste management
  • Research into Pig Wasting Multi-Systemic Syndrome
  • Research to develop a test for mycotoxin zearalenone, a feed contaminant affecting breeding and growth rates, in pig tissues