Feral Wild Boar Raise Disease Concerns for Canadian Pork Producers

CANADA - A professor with the University of Saskatchewan suggests the issue of feral wild boar needs to be addressed before populations become uncontrollable, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 17 October 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

A survey conducted two years ago showed feral wild boar were present 111 of Saskatchewan's 296 rural municipalities.

"Feral Wild Boar a Potential Serious Threat to Domestic Pig Producers" will be among the topics discussed next month in Saskatoon as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2014.

Dr Ryan Brook, a professor in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan, says one of the biggest concerns for pork producers is the potential for disease transmission.

Dr Ryan Brook-University of Saskatchewan:

There is a number of parasites and diseases that can make the jump from feral wild boar to domestic pigs.

Pseudorabies, swine brucellosis, trichinella, there is a long list of potential disease s and parasites, some of which are known to occur in North Dakota and other northern US states in wild boar and obviously that close position and the known movement patterns of boar, they can be quite mobile.

The potential for those animals to act as disease vectors and spread them out is quite high, especially given the overlap of potential diseases that infect them.

That's to me one of the big red flags for agriculture. Again we haven't seen anything yet.

We also haven't really looked in any real effective capacity to say whether we have or don't have disease out there.

Certainly an ideal scenario might be where you do a lot of testing and find nothing and indeed these wild boar are disease free but that has not been done yet.

Dr Brook says once wild boar become well established eradication is virtually impossible.

He says in Texas which is about the same size as Saskatchewan there are between three million and four million wild boar and they spend tens of millions of dollars per year to try to keep their populations under control.

Charlotte Rowney

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