Farmscape for February 27, 2018
A Senior Lecturer with James Cook University, says the best protection against the spread of African Swine Fever is stepped up awareness of the dangers of illegal imports of meat.
African Swine Fever virus causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in pigs.
In 2007 the infection found its way from Kenya to Georgia, just below Russia and since has spread to Russia into the Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States, into Poland, Moldavia, Romania and the Czech Republic.
Dr. John Carr, a Senior Lecturer with James Cook University, says this has left major pork producing and consuming nations in Europe and Asia including Germany, Denmark and China at risk.
Clip-Dr. John Carr-James Cook University:
The Americas has had African Swine Fever before and every time we have had it we have eliminated it.
If Canada gets a case I would expect that the very professional Canadian veterinary services would sit on it very hard and get rid of it.
I don't lose sleep at night worrying about the Canadian industry because of African Swine Fever.
Likewise the British herd, because we're an island, we have a bit of water, we have less movement of meat across from the continent.
But, as the Czech Republic shows distance is not necessarily an issue.
It doesn't stop the problem if you allow the importation, illegal or what ever, of potentially contaminated meat.
As more of Russia gets contaminated, as more of Europe becomes contaminated then the risk to Canada becomes higher as we invite these people in as tourists, particularly some of these countries who are supplying staff and stockmen to our pig farms.
Dr. Carr encourages North American producers to talk to staff, especially if they are from eastern Europe, and make sure that they are aware that pork products from home should not be brought back to North America, pork products should not be brought onto farms and pork should not be fed to pigs.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork