By Jean-Paul MacDonald
The Government of Canada is giving $944,340 to Manitoba's Pork Group. This large amount of money is set aside for the African Swine Disease Industry Ready Program. Canada's pork industry is a big part of the nation's exports, valued at $4.8 billion in 2022.
The goal is to be prepared for the possible arrival of the dangerous African Swine Fever (ASF) in Canada.
"We will keep working hard to protect the pork industry and make sure it stays strong if an outbreak happens," says Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Food.
"African Swine disease is a huge risk to our province's Swine business," warns Rick Préjet, Chair of Manitoba Pork.
As many farmers will know, this disease is a catching and deadly virus that attacks both farm and wild hogs. Even though it's deadly to pigs, it doesn't harm people.
It's been spreading since 2018, moving through Asia and Europe, recently showing up in the Caribbean. So far, Canada and the U.S. have stayed free from it.
Manitoba's Pork Group will use the money to start several projects, including controlling wild hog numbers, making a combined response plan focusing on animal care and disease control.. It will also push for better health safety measures and increase awareness of biosecurity protocols with farmers – large and small.