Provincial Government Supports Efforts against PED

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA - The provincial government has approved funding for pig farm sanitation and screening following the discovery of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus in the area.
calendar icon 20 February 2014
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The Prince Edward Island (PEI) government has approved C$115,000 in financial aid to hog farmers for increased sanitation and screening measures, now that a case of the deadly pig virus has been confirmed in the province, according to The Guardian.

Tim Seeber, executive director of the PEI Hog Commodity Marketing Board, said the board requested government assistance close to a month ago but received no response.

On 18 February, the newspaper received a statement from the Department of Agriculture confirming the funding would be forthcoming.

“The department moved swiftly to approve the project and was ready to launch the program within two days of notification that porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) had been diagnosed on PEI,” said the statement emailed to The Guardian.

The first reported case in PEI was detected by a veterinary lab last week and confirmed on 16 February.

But hog producers in the province have been undergoing stringent cleaning and disinfecting measures for some time now, especially after the virus was first confirmed to have arrived in Canada last month.

Ever since, Mr Seeber says Island hog farmers have been incurring numerous additional costs as a result of these heightened biosecurity measures, especially for trucks that must transport hogs from PEI to the nearest processing plant in Quebec.

“The costs of totally cleaning, washing, disinfecting and drying a truck adds about $4 a hog to our transportation costs,” he said. “That is a huge increase and if we want to keep this disease at bay, we’ll have to do that going forward and that is a significant impact on the industry.”

The c$115,000 in funding will be delivered to the hog board to administer a project to enhance swine farm biosecurity.

This will cover costs such as sanitation equipment required to properly wash and disinfect vehicles and equipment; training for individuals on bio-security by veterinarians, as well as special bio-secure entries to pig barns and pig loading facilities.

“The department also is covering expenses associated with the provincial veterinarian in determining the source of the disease. The department will cover environmental sampling costs by the provincial vet as well as the lab testing costs,” a department spokeswoman wrote in an email to The Guardian.

Prices for PEI pigs are not expected to be negatively impacted by the fact the virus has been found here. In fact, the loss of so many piglets as a result of this highly contagious swine illness in the US has driven up demand.

“They figure over a million hogs have been taken out of the US market, which drives up the Canadian price. I guess that’s the only plus side of this disease,” Mr Seeber said.

There have been no other cases of the virus found in PEI but producers are taking no chances. All pig farms have strict sanitation measures in place and are taking all precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the disease.

And now they have some provincial dollars to help with these additional measures.

“It’s just a matter of just being a little bit more diligent in everything that we do,” Mr Seeber told The Guardian.

Further Reading

Find out more information on PED by clicking here.

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