PED Shows Need for National Approach to Animal Disease Control

CANADA - The chair of Sask Pork says the devastation cause by porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) has demonstrated the need for a strong national approach to guarding Canada's boarders from the entry of new animal disease threats, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 7 July 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Since PED first appeared in the US in April 2013 it has spread to 30 states, infecting more than 4,700 farms.

Sask Pork chair, Florian Possberg, notes the Canadian Swine Health Board had been responsible for guarding our borders but, with the loss of federal funding, that ability has been lost and the industry hasn't been able to come together to replace it with a like organisation.

Florian Possberg - Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

In the US, there's still debate on how many pigs have died from PED but it's pretty certain that it was somewhere around eight million pigs.

That's devastation, quite frankly.

We've had about 60 some cases here in Canada with a spattering of cases in various provinces but about 60 cases in Ontario.

So far we've been able to limit the spread in Canada and obviously that gives Canada a real health advantage and really it's beneficial to the producers because obviously they don't have to deal with the financial loss but it's also good for our consumers in that we can be dependable suppliers of pork at times when other countries have breaks in their supply chain.

So Canada is adding to its reputation of a health advantaged region that can be a dependable supplier of high quality healthy pork.

Mr Possberg says quite a few provinces favour a national approach to dealing with animal disease threats and would like to get back to that.

He says the provincial organisations are doing the best they can but everyone would all benefit by having a strong national approach.

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