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Social Media Effective in Building Awareness of Pig Reporting Requirements

12 August 2015, at 6:00am

CANADA - The manager of PigTrace Canada reports social media has been an effective tool in building awareness among hobby farmers of regulations governing the mandatory reporting of pig movements in Canada, writes Bruce Cochrane.

From 1 July 2014, under changes to Canada's Health of Animals Regulation, both the shipper and receiver of live swine are required to report the movements of those animals to the PigTrace Canada database within 7 days.

Anyone with pigs, regardless of whether it's a small hobby farm with 1 or 2 pigs on occasion or a large corporate farm, is required to obtain a premise identification number and report movements.

Jeff Clark, the manager of PigTrace Canada, an initiative of the Canadian Pork Council, reports administrators are learning there are more farms with pigs than had been realised.

Jeff Clark-Canadian Pork Council:

If we look at commercial farms versus hobby farms, backyard farms, pretty well 99 per cent of our commercial farms have a premises ID number throughout Canada.

In most cases it's the provincial governments that are mandated to issue those numbers and validate the location of the farm.

What we're seeing though is there's far more backyard kind of hobby farmers in Canada that we just didn't know about.

They're finding out about the programme and calling us almost daily.

Right now, I just ran the numbers, and we have about 8,800 premises registered in PigTrace and it's growing, not by a lot, but every day we're hearing from new people that are just finding out about the programme.

Often these are people that raise pigs for their own use.

Maybe they have 5 to 10 pigs or less even.

We could top out, who knows, around 9,500 or something but right now we're at about 8,800.

Clark noted social media has played a role in this program, especially with the backyard hobby farmers.

He says he hears from a lot of people through Facebook and Twitter and its been quite interesting because we see people educating each other, so it's been an effective tool for education.

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