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ASF is a growing concern for North American pork producers

20 November 2018, at 12:00am

The growing magnitude of African swine fever spreading throughout the world has heightened the level of concern among North American pork producers

African Swine Fever: Critical Steps for Protecting Your Investment was among the topics discussed last week as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2018.

Dr Egan Brockhoff, a veterinarian with Prairie Swine Health Services, notes in China the virus was introduced in August and has moved from the north of that country to the south and it has spread throughout eastern Europe into Belgium.

Dr Brockhoff explained, "PED virus really opened the world's eyes to how viruses can move all around the world. The virus came into the United States on the side of a contaminated feed ingredient bag and so we've started to really look closer at how viruses move.

"Canada, like the United States and the rest of the world, relies heavily on China for its feed ingredients. All of our vitamins and trace minerals come from China and so you put all of that story together and African swine fever becomes a real possible risk for North America.

"This virus is nothing like PED virus. This virus would be economically devastating to the pork sector.

"If we get this virus in Canada our borders close tomorrow - our major importers of pork would close the borders to us immediately.

"Our processors would have to stop processing.

"Access to feed would become difficult.

"Access to capital would become impossible.

"It's almost too difficult to imagine how devastating this virus would be to the Canadian economy, to the whole pork sector and certainly to all of the families that would be involved."

Dr Brockhoff encourages everyone to have conversations with their feed suppliers, their nutritionists, their veterinarians and their team members about feed biosecurity.

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