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Dependence on exports makes preparing for foreign animal disease critical says Sask Pork GM

The General Manager of Sask Pork is suggesting the Canadian pork sector's dependence on exports makes the prevention and preparation for foreign animal disease critical.

In response to the threat of African swine fever, the Government of Saskatchewan and Sask Pork have contributed $1 million to support swine disease mitigation, including adding a dedicated cull line into the North 49 sow processing facility being build in Moose Jaw by Donald's Fine Foods.

Sask Pork General Manager Mark Ferguson said this is one part of Canada's effort to be prepared.

“Today ASF is present in parts of Europe and Asia. It was also detected in the Dominican Republic in 2021 but it's never been detected in Canada or the U.S. so out first priority as an industry is biosecurity and prevention and making sure diseases such as ASF never reach our country, our farms and there's a lot of work going into that avenue as well. It's also important to note that this is a disease that only impacts pigs and it poses no food safety risk but it is a disease that can affect our ability as a country to export. ” explained Mark Ferguson, General Manager at Sask Pork.

“Saskatchewan as well as Canada as a whole are extremely dependent on our exports. We export over 70 percent of what we produce. While this is good for the economy and helps the nation it does put us in a very vulnerable position. If we were ever to get a foreign animal disease, and African swine fever is one example of such a disease, it will temporarily close our borders to pork exports so these are the reasons as an industry we're concerned about ASF and the impact of border closures and this is the reason for the development of the plan,” added Ferguson.

Ferguson said that while it is something we hope we will never need to use, the cull line will allow for an efficient and orderly humane cull of hogs if a swine disease outbreak or any other situation closes our border and help us deal with any potential surplus of hogs we may have without a market.

Source : Saskpork

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