Agriculture minister says Quebec and Ontario monitoring serious pig disease

CANADA - The new federal agriculture minister is concerned about a "serious" illness which has killed hundreds of thousands of pigs in Quebec and has also shown up in Ontario.

Chuck Strahl discussed the impact of the illness called post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome or PMWS with Quebec Agriculture Minister Yvon Vallieres when they met for the first time in Montreal Thursday.

He said PMWS is being monitored by provincial governments to try to understand the depth of the problem and whether it's getting worse.

The illness results in pigs losing weight until they die. It does not present any risk to humans. "There are some interprovincial concerns," said Strahl. "There is some evidence of it in Ontario."

"It's not a consistent problem through the farming community, some farms are more seriously affected than others." Vallieres said there is already a seven per cent mortality rate among pigs in Ontario.

"I think it's a phenomenon that's gone beyond the Quebec border," he added. "What we've agreed to is to have our officials work together about the extent of the problem, the financial costs of it and what, if anything, we need to do to help producers down the road," Strahl said.

PMWS killed 200,000 pigs in Quebec in 2005, which represents six per cent of total pork production in the province.

It has been estimated that one-third of Quebec pork producers could be affected if governments don't provide emergency assistance.

"There's an important variable in Quebec. . some herds die from the illness while in others, we find a mortality rate of 10 to 20 per cent," Vallieres said.

But he admitted he is worried about the impact of PMWS on pork producers. "If the tendency continues, several businesses will face problems," Vallieres warned.

For more information, please visit our PMWS Technical Zone

Source: Mytelus
calendar icon 24 February 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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