Quick Action to Address Animal Disease Becomes Increasingly Important

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2269. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 19 December 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2269

Rabobank International says, as trade becomes an increasingly important part of the global meat industry, it's becoming more important to deal with animal disease outbreaks quickly.

A series of animal disease outbreaks over the past number of years has heightened concerns related to the global meat trade prompting several countries, including Canada to embark on strategies designed to minimize the impact of disease on trade.

Rabobank International vice-president of food and agribusiness research Fiona Boal says even the brightest animal scientists would be hesitant to predict what diseases might inflict the pork industry, even next year, but what we have learned after recent outbreaks is the need for the industry to be prepared.

"I think the two key examples and unfortunately the Canadian industry is very well aware of one of them, the first being the BSE issues that have affected the global beef industry and the second being the high pathogenic avian influenza which fortunately to date hasn't come to North America.

What the Canadian pork industry can learn from both of those diseases is a couple of things. Firstly we really need to ensure superior monitoring and control.

We need to use sound science and that needs to be at the forefront of industry activities. Unfortunately, with respect to BSE, sometimes our trading partners don't tend to use that and it's very important that we still keep that as our major goal.

Obviously highlights issues around traceability and food safety and they're certainly a given in the industry already and we need to keep those top of mind and I think open and transparent dialogue between players so, if and when disease outbreaks occur, we really need to be telling our trading partners straight away and we need to be opening those lines of communication and keeping them open."

Boal notes industries often wonder why it takes so long to re-open markets after disease outbreaks but she acknowledges these things can't be rushed and the key is really sound science and open communication.

Staff Farmscape.Ca

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