New Government announces $76 million to combat pig disease

CANADA - The Honourable Christian Paradis, Secretary of State for Agriculture, on behalf of the Honorable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, has announced a $76 million cash injection, spread over four years, to help combat pig disease and enhance market prosperity and stability.
calendar icon 21 August 2007
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Mr Paradis said that Canada's New Government is committed to ensuring the profitability of the Canadian hog sector.

"We recognise the challenges that producers are facing and through this initiative we will work with industry and veterinarians to give producers the necessary tools to aggressively combat these diseases," he said.

Consistent with the recommendations of an industry-government task team, the four-year program will focus on assisting producers and the industry in four areas. They are herd inoculation, research, bio-security best management practices and finding long-term risk management solutions. Canada's New Government will continue to work closely with the hog industry through the Canadian Pork Council and the veterinary community to develop program details for each of these four areas.

Canadian Pork Council President Clare Schlegel welcomed the financial support.

"We applaud Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for recognising the critical role that good animal health plays in our sector, as well as the serious challenges hog producers are currently facing," he said.

" While these diseases did not pose a food safety risk, they have had severe economic impacts on our producers. "We thank AAFC for its support of our industry. We look forward to working with AAFC to address disease threats, which will help to ensure our industry remains competitive."

Currently, Porcine Circovirus Associated Diseases (PCVAD) are of particular concern as it they are severely affecting the swine industry, with incidences increasing across Canada. A National Program Options Task Team was established in 2007 to help address PCVAD/PMWS in the Canadian Pork Industry. The Task Team is co-chaired by Clare Schlegel, President of the Canadian Pork Council and an Ontario pork producer, and by Danny Foster, Director General of Business Risk Management Program Development at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

PCVAD defines an entire range of diseases affecting pigs that are associated with Pork Circovirus 2 (PCV2). They include Postweaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS), respiratory illness, pneumonia, enteritis, reproductive disorders and high mortality in pigs.

Symptoms of PCVAD may include depletion of lymphoid cells in growing pigs, inflammation in one or more tissues such as the spleen, thymus, intestines, lymph nodes, lung, kidney, liver, tonsil, etc. and detection of PCV2 within the lesions of growing pigs. PCV2-associated diseases pose no risk to human health.

PCVAD/PMWS is severely affecting the Canadian swine industry. Recent research shows that mortality rates also seem to be rising within infected herds. From 2000 to 2006, deaths and condemnations within the Canadian hog herd increased by four percent representing approximately 1.75 million pigs.

Veterinarians and producers are aggressively examining ways to prevent and control PCV2-associated diseases. There are currently three vaccines available.

Most success in managing PCV2-associated diseases has come from stringent biosecurity, and sanitation controls, thorough production strategies, optimising environmental conditions, and control of other diseases.

Avoiding the introduction of live animals, minimizing visitor traffic on the farm, rodent, insect and bird control, minimizing cross fostering activity, cleaning and disinfection of facilities and control of farm pathogens also appears to help preventing disease transmission. Strategic and appropriate vaccination and prompt treatment of ill pigs will reduce the risk of transmitting PCV2-associated diseases between pigs.

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