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How Canada Plans to Enhance Efforts to Keep African Swine Fever Out

The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) has been selected to receive funding under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) African Swine Fever Industry Preparedness Program (ASFIPP).

The CPC's ASFIPP initiative, "Development of a low-cost pen-side assay for rapid detection of African Swine Fever Virus," is a crucial step in enhancing the swine industry's readiness against the threat of African swine fever (ASF), CPC said in a release on Friday.

"The support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is instrumental in advancing our efforts to combat African Swine Fever,” Canadian Pork Council chair René Roy, said in a release. “Our focus on developing a low-cost pen-side assay aligns with our commitment to proactive and innovative solutions for the swine industry."

The goal is to develop an ASFMeter, a portable and low-cost tool, for rapidly diagnosing ASF in the field, CPC explained. This innovative program in collaboration with McMaster University hopes to revolutionize ASF detection by providing a convenient and effective solution for on-site testing.

"This program represents a significant step forward in safeguarding Canadian swine herds and strengthening our industry's resilience against ASF," Roy added. "The collaboration with AAFC and McMaster University brings together expertise in research and technology, ensuring that the ASFMeter meets the rigorous standards required for rapid and accurate ASF detection."

The ASFIPP funding is a testament to the importance of research and development in enhancing biosecurity measures within the swine industry, CPC wrote. The program itself shows the joint industry/government proactive approach to preparing for potential challenges and ensuring the sustainability of Canadian pork production.

“Animal diseases, including ASF, are a serious threat to Canada’s pork sector, and it’s vitally important that all orders of government and industry take steps to prevent and prepare,” the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said in the release. “These projects are a key part of Canada’s efforts to prevent an ASF outbreak while ensuring our pork sector is ready to respond."

CPC said it remains dedicated to protecting the Canadian pork industry through industry-wide cooperation, innovation and resilience in the face of emerging challenges. 

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