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Maintaining Pig Movements in Uninfected Areas Top Priority in Event of ASF

The Chief Veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council says, in the event of an African Swine Fever outbreak in the United States, maintaining pig movements in unaffected areas will be a top priority.

U.S. initiatives to prevent and to respond to African Swine Fever were discussed earlier this month in Des Moines as part of World pork Expo.Dr. Liz Wagstrom, the Chief Veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council says, like Canada, the American pork industry is reliant on trade and, in the event of an African Swine Fever outbreak, the expectation is that trade would immediately be cut off.

Clip-Dr. Liz Wagstrom-National Pork Producers Council:

That's one of the reasons we were so pleased that USDA set up a protection zone in Puerto Rico so that, if Puerto Rico were to break with African Swine fever our trading partners would realize that's not part of our mainland trade.

The second thing we know would happen is we would have a 72 hour stop movement.
We move almost a million pigs a day and so stopping for three days we can handle.

But we want to make sure we have that consistency between states that movements can continue safely once we've identified where the disease is and look at how to make sure we can move in the non-diseased areas.

There is a North American Swine Health Working Group that meets under the direction of the Chief Veterinary Officers from Canada, United States and Mexico.One of the main priorities of that working group is to say how do we look at the North American industry?

How can we be confident of trade between the industries?

We're very pleased.We understand that Canada has accepted that the protection zone in Puerto Rico is an appropriate protection zone.Getting pigs from Canada happens every day and sending pork from the U.S. back into Canada happens every day and we need to do whatever we can to keep that moving freely.

Dr. Wagstrom says preventing African Swine Fever is the number one priority and preparedness and response is what we need in our back pocket in case of an outbreak.

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