A new team of sniffer dogs will patrol Scotland’s airports, ports, and parcel hubs to help prevent animal diseases like African swine fever (ASF) and foot-and-mouth disease from entering the country.

The Scottish government has funded a new Border Force canine unit that has been specially trained to detect animal-derived products (PoAO).

According to data from Border Force North, more than a tonne of PoAO was seized at ports and airports from people arriving in Scotland in 2020.

“Monthly seizure data provided by Border Force North assists us in determining where PoAO originate and identifying periods when seizures are above average,” said Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon.

It is critical for travelers to remember that they should not bring any meat or meat products back to the UK because they may carry diseases such as African swine fever.

The financial cost
Exotic diseases entering the UK continue to be a major concern for agriculture.

According to experts, an ASF outbreak could cost the UK pig industry hundreds of millions of pounds.

The disease has killed pigs all over the world and can be spread through the importation of pork and pork products.

Foot-and-mouth disease is also known to be present in livestock in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and parts of South America.

During the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis, illegal imports of West African bushmeat were cited as one possible source of the disease reaching these shores.

“Border Force detector dogs protect the UK from over a tonne of potentially harmful products that could spread disease each year,” said Marie Craig, assistant director for Border Force Scotland.