Farmer of First H1N1 Farm Resumes Sales

CANADA - The pig farmer whose pig herd was the first to become infected with the H1N1 influenza A virus one year ago has started selling pigs again.
calendar icon 30 April 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

An Alberta pig farmer who destroyed his herd last June after it was infected with the H1N1 influenza virus one year ago has started over and is now shipping animals again. according to CBC.

Mr Van Ginkel's herd of 2,200 pigs near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, was placed under quarantine by Canadian authorities last April after the animals were infected with the flu virus.

Officials believe the pigs caught the illness from a worker who had just returned from Mexico.

Early last June, Mr Van Ginkel voluntarily destroyed the herd to save his business.

He told CBC: "I know a lot of other producers ... they probably would have quit. But for me, that was not an option because I'm a farmer."

First, Mr Van Ginkel completely cleaned his barns. Then, with the help of the federal and provincial governments, he started to rebuild his herd when he got his first pigs in August. He now has 2,800.

"You start breeding and slowly you're getting more and more busy. And almost one and a half months ago, then we started shipping again."

While Mr Van Ginkel does not regret destroying his animals, he wishes the government had helped provide funding much sooner.

One year after his herd was infected, he says the H1N1 outbreak could not have been prevented. But these days, he restricts who gets access to his pig barns to ensure the source of his livelihood is not wiped out by disease.

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