by SUSAN MANN
The Canadian pork industry will suffer big time losses if Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea spreads here from the United States, says a swine industry official.
Canadian Swine Health Board executive director Robert Harding says some estimates pegged the losses at more than $1 billion if PED rolls through the Canadian industry.
The Canadian herd doesn’t have immunity against the virus and that’s why the industry would suffer disastrous economic losses. The disease was detected for the first time in North America in several Midwestern states in the United States in May. The cause of the outbreak there still hasn’t been determined.
The swine health board is encouraging all pork industry stakeholders to be diligent in preventing the spread of PED. The call for diligence is part of the board’s national PED strategy. Other strategic components include:
- Heightened biosecurity.
- Effective surveillance.
- Information updates through the board’s free electronic daily service (subscribe by emailing email@example.com).
- Risk analysis.
Harding says many of these components have been in place since the beginning but “there’s a lot of work still to do.”
Industry participants should continue with heightened biosecurity, surveillance and being informed, he says. But if PED does land here, the industry should also be prepared to contain it.
Harding says there is a high likelihood the disease will come to Canada. “There are an awful lot of pigs trucks that cross that border.” He is referring to pigs being transported to the United States from Canada and the trucks coming back into Canada with possibly other animal species on board.
Breeding stock is the only type of pig that would be coming into Canada from the United States. Harding says the breeding industry is on heightened alert. “They go through a quarantine process.”
Harding says trucking industry leaders have called the swine board to obtain information and outline their cleaning and disinfecting procedures. “We’ve been impressed with the transport industry.”
That’s just one example of how everyone in the Canadian industry recognizes they have a role to play, he adds.
PED is an aggressive virus that causes widespread watery diarrhea in all ages of pigs but leads to almost 100 per cent mortality in nursing pigs, the swine board says in a press release. Other ages of pigs are affected too but not as severely as nursing pigs. BF