By keeping his own pig, Paul Richardson jeopardises the health of all pigs in the UK ("Bringing home the bacon", Real Life, 11 May). He is obviously unaware that classical swine fever is rife in the Netherlands, with cases also in Germany, Belgium and Italy. The virus that causes this serious disease survives in improperly cooked or cured pig meat, much of which is imported from Holland, and for this reason it is illegal to give waste food to pigs except under controlled conditions and under licence. He also seems unaware that the movement of pigs is controlled by law so that if a serious disease like swine fever occurs, all possible in-contact stock can be traced.
The UK is currently free of swine fever but the risk of introduction is very high. Herds affected are subject to compulsory slaughter. To avoid this, aspiring backyard pig-keepers should contact their local divisional veterinary office of MAFF.