The Director of Animal Welfare with the National Pork Producers Council says protecting trade opportunities for the mainland U.S. in the event of an ASF outbreak in Puerto Rico remains a top priority.
African Swine Fever in the Western Hemisphere and steps being taken to keep it out of the continental U.S. were discussed last week as part of World Pork Expo.
Dr. Anna Forseth, the Director of Animal Welfare with the National Pork Producers Council, says the outbreak in Haiti and the Dominican Republic has raised the risk for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Clip-Dr. Anna Forseth-National Pork Producers Council:
The United States has been working to put in place what we call a protection zone around Puerto Rico.
If Puerto Rico is to get a positive case, the U.S. has put in place some parameters that would suggest that it's lower risk.
A few examples would be that we are restricting movements of swine, germ plasm, pork products between Puerto Rico and the United States.
We are working on surveillance and education within the island and then increasing surveillance measures.
With all that said, it suggests there's lower risk that a case can get from Puerto Rico, if there is one, to the United States.
If Puerto Rico is to get positive now that that protection zone is in place then there are some countries that have said they would still continue trade with the United States but there are some countries that haven't agreed to that.
Japan and Canada have had conversations with the USDA and have agreed to the current parameters of the protection zone but there at least 18 others that USDA is in the process of communicating with to try to get them to accept the protection zone so we can protect the trade opportunities for mainland pork producers.
Dr. Forseth says it all comes back to the fact that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and a positive case there could affect the opportunity for trade from mainland U.S.Source : Farmscape.ca