Senator Presses USDA to Act Quickly on Spread of PED09 April 2014
US - US Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) is pressing the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to quickly step up efforts to prevent further incidence of the fast-spreading Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus that has already killed millions of pigs in Minnesota and across the country, and to provide help to producers already hit by the disease.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Sen. Franken urged quick action by USDA to help producers detect PED in their herds and to develop countermeasures such as drugs and vaccines to battle the virus. He also pressed for USDA to provide relief to producers already hit by the virus and to work with other federal agencies who may be able to bring resources to effectively address the PED crisis.
"Minnesota ranks third in nationwide pork production, so we have a large stake in moving quickly before the PED virus further devastates our producers' herds," said Sen. Franken.
"Millions of pigs have already been hit by the deadly virus, so I want the USDA and any other federal agency that can help stop the spread of this virus to take action now and help safeguard our producers' livelihood."
Sen. Franken stressed that the virus poses no threat to humans or other animals and it is not a food-safety threat. However, it is highly contagious among pigs and especially lethal to young pigs. The disease can quickly wipe out an entire barn of pigs that are not old enough to withstand it. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent infection, but earlier this year the University of Minnesota developed a test of pig's immunity to PED.
You can download a copy of Sen. Franken's letter to Agriculture Sec. Vilsack here.
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