CANADA - The general manager of Manitoba Pork says a new initiative under development in western Canada will allow veterinarians to share swine health information, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Pork producer councils in western Canada, in cooperation with the Offices of the Provincial Chief Veterinary Officers, are establishing a new Western Swine Health Information Network.
Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson says the body will be funded in part by the pork producer councils in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The hope is to get additional funding from the four provincial governments to run the organization, and funding from the federal government to help set up the necessary computer systems.
Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork:
We had hoped that a national organization would be able to do this.
That was originally supposed to be the Canadian Swine Health Information Network but that hasn't worked out so, as a fall back position, we've set up this western health information network for swine.
It's computer based.
Essentially what happens is that veterinarians put in information about some of the cases they're working on, the sorts of diseases they're looking at and some of the incidences they've had on calls and then this information gets shared across a network.
Producers' information of course is disguised and it's open to other veterinarians who participate in the project.
Dr Chris Byra has been providing some analysis of this information to provide some sort of sense of direction as to what's going on.
After talking with a number of major players in the industry we've got agreement to put on a significant part of the herd health information from the swine herd in western Canada and with luck we should have this thing up and running very shortly.
Mr Dickson says the key is to have the private veterinarians supply information to the system to shine some light into this whole area so we can do a better job of controlling these serious diseases that are affecting both production and animal welfare.
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