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Canada and US agree to trade protocols if ASF is detected in wild pigs

Canada and the United States have agreed on protocols to guide bilateral trade in case African swine fever is detected in wild pigs.

17 March 2021, at 9:37am

Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Dr Jaspinder Komal, working in collaboration with the United States' CVO, Dr Burke Healey, issued the following statement:

"We are pleased to announce that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have reached another milestone in their collaboration on prevention and preparedness related to African swine fever (ASF). On 3 March 2021, both countries signed a protocol to guide bilateral trade if ASF is detected in wild pigs, without cases in domestic swine. This first-of-its-kind protocol will use a science-based approach to minimize trade impacts while protecting the swine populations in both countries.

Under the protocol, all trade in live swine, swine germplasm, and untreated swine products would initially stop if ASF is found in wild pigs, while trade in products treated to make the ASF virus ineffective could continue. The protocol describes 3 phases which would gradually reduce restrictions on trade for these products.

CFIA and USDA-APHIS are continuing to work with industry and other stakeholders to make sure that both countries have the processes and procedures in place to fully implement the protocol.

Canada and the United States will continue to modify their export certificates to allow trade of live swine, swine semen, pet food and animal by-products and meat from approved disease-free zones in the event of an ASF outbreak in domestic pigs.

Zoning is an internationally-recognized tool used to help manage diseases and facilitate international trade. If a case of ASF is identified, geographic boundaries are defined to contain the outbreak. These geographic boundaries are control zones established in accordance with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines. The areas outside of these control zones are disease-free zones.

The protocol for wild pigs supports the zoning arrangement to safeguard the Canadian and American pork industries. In Canada, the pork industry contributes to more than 100,000 jobs and generates close to $24 billion when farms, inputs, processing and pork exports are included. Canada is the third-largest pork exporting country in both value and volume and represents about 20% of world pork trade. In 2020, the Canadian pork industry exported 1.4 million tonnes valued just over CAD$5 billion to 93 export markets.

In the United States, pork producers marketed over 129 million hogs in 2019, valued at more than US$22 billion, and provided about 27 billion pounds of meat to consumers worldwide. Additionally, the U.S. pork industry supports more than half a million jobs in the United States, the majority of those in rural areas.

As ASF spreads around the globe, Canada cannot address this threat in isolation. Only by working together with other countries, industry and other stakeholders can we best address the threat of ASF while maintaining trade of pork and pork products which are important to our economy and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Canadians."