Ensuring Replacement Pigs are PRRS-Free

CANADA - The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board hopes a new certification programme will provide western Canadian pork producers a reasonable level of confidence that the pigs they buy are free of PRRS, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 27 April 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

The Western Canada PRRS-Free Herd Certification Pilot Project, an initiative of the Canadian Swine Health Board, provides a protocol under which suppliers of pigs or semen will be able to certify their stock is free of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome.

Sask Pork producers services manager Harvey Wagner explains producers will need to test a minimum number of animals to achieve certification and maintain ongoing testing.

Harvey Wagner-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

A number of herds have never had PRRS, the high end breeding stock suppliers.

We have quite a few of them in western Canada because of our isolation.

Then there's a number of herds who have had PRRS.

They've been able to, even though they've had them, eliminate the PRRS virus from their herd through some very good production practices and they've become a negative herd, they do not have PRRS.

The idea with the herd certification is to be able to say that a herd, a premise, a farm, a barn, however you want to describe it hasn't got PRRS in it's stock, the stock is free of PRRS, they don't have it.

There hasn't ever really been a protocol designed to this point anyway to actually say, this is how we test and how often we test to be sure that the animals don't have it, at least to a certain level of confidence.

You can never be absolutely certain that they'll not get it but if you test on a regular basis you're pretty confident that they don't have it.

It's particularly valuable for the sellers and buyers of live animals to have a defined standard like that and they have a high level of trust that the herd has been tested to that protocol, to that standard and the likelihood of them having PRRS is very low.

Mr Wagner says the hope to have a number of herds working toward certification within the next three to four months.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on PRRS by clicking here.
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