In regard to your recent article about a local farmer who is raising pigs, I would like to raise awareness of a very deadly disease called African Swine Fever, or ASF, which is currently affecting pigs in Africa, Asia and Europe, and a major concern of U.S. pork producers.
While not a threat to human health and not currently found in the United States, ASF is highly contagious and would have a significant impact on U.S. livestock producers, their communities and the economy if it were found here.
The disease spreads several ways, including through feeding of human food waste. Both the USDA and Washington State Department of Agriculture discourage this practice and require livestock owners to have a license to feed human food waste to livestock to prevent the spread of several diseases, including ASF, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, also known as BSE, or “mad cow disease,” Foot and Mouth Disease and Trichinosis.
Feeding surplus garden scraps is fine and is what this farmer was looking for. Food scraps from your table, especially meat products should never be fed to livestock.
For those new to raising livestock, purchase all animals including pigs from reliable sources and isolate any new arrivals for 30 days before mixing with other animals to help prevent illness. Always seek your veterinarian’s advice on managing and caring for your animals.
Please visit our county Extension website to learn more https://extension.wsu.edu/island/
Food Systems Program Coordinator
WSU Extension Island County