Pig abattoir inspection data: Can it be used for surveillance purposes?

C Correia-Gomes, RP Smith, JI Eze, MK Henry, GJ Gunn, S Williamson, SC Tongue

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Statutory recording of carcass lesions at the abattoir may have significant potential as a resource for surveillance of livestock populations. Food Standards Agency (FSA) data in Great Britain are not currently used for surveillance purposes. There are concerns that the sensitivity of detection, combined with other issues, may make the outputs unreliable. In this study we postulate that FSA data could be used for surveillance purposes. To test this we compared FSA data with BPHS (a targeted surveillance system of slaughtered pigs) and laboratory diagnostic scanning surveillance (FarmFile) data, from mid-2008 to mid- 2012, for respiratory conditions and tail bite lesions in pigs at population level. We also evaluated the agreement/correlation at batch level between FSA and BPHS inspections in four field trials during 2013. Temporal trends and regional differences at population level were described and compared using logistic regression models. Population temporal analysis showed an increase in respiratory disease in all datasets but with regional differences. For tail bite, the temporal trend and monthly patterns were completely different between the datasets. The field trials were run in three abattoirs and included 322 batches. Pearson’s correlation and Cohen’s kappa tests were used to assess correlation/agreement between inspections systems. It was moderate to strong for high prevalence conditions but slight for low prevalence conditions. We conclude that there is potential to use FSA data as a component of a surveillance system to monitor temporal trends and regional differences of chosen indicators at population level. At producer level and for low prevalence conditions it needs further improvement. Overall a number of issues still need to be addressed in order to provide the pig industry with the confidence to base their decisions on these FSA inspection data. Similar conclusions, at national level, may apply to other livestock sectors but require further evaluation of the inspection and data collection processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0161990
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Early online date26 Aug 2016
Publication statusFirst published - 26 Aug 2016

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