July 29, 2021, OTTAWA - The news that pigs in the Dominican Republic tested positive for the animal disease African swine fever (ASF) is raising alarm bells for Canadian pork producers. ASF has been spreading throughout pork-producing countries in Europe and Asia and has reached the western hemisphere for the first time in 40 years.
Although ASF poses no risk to humans or other animals, an outbreak of ASF in Canada could devastate the Canadian pig herd, placing farm families and tens of thousands of jobs along the entire value chain at risk. A single, positive case could result in the immediate suspension of pork and pig exports valued at over $5 billion in 2020.
Over the past three years, pork producers and government officials have worked closely to strengthen Canada’s capacity to prevent and, if necessary, respond to an ASF outbreak. The Canadian Pork Council’s Chair, Rick Bergmann was pleased that one outcome of this collaborative effort was the quick decision by Canada Border Services Agency to add Dominican Republic to the list of countries that border officers are screening for ASF risks.
This change builds on measures taken in 2019 to increase the number of detector dog teams, enhance public communications about the risks associated with illegal meat imports and control imports of unprocessed grain and oilseeds from ASF infected countries. Mr. Bergmann noted Minister Bibeau’s recent statement following the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Meeting in which she reiterated that ASF preparedness and response remain a major priority. He said “while much progress has been made, there remain opportunities to eradicate wild pigs, enhance biosecurity and develop the response policies and programs that will be needed should there ever be a Canadian outbreak.
We look forward to collaborating with the Canadian government to further strengthen our capacity to maintain the health of our Canadian pig herd and pork industry.” The Canadian Pork Council is the national voice for hog producers in Canada. A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations representing 7,000 farms, the organization plays a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.
Director, Government and Corporate Affairs
Canadian Pork Council
613 883-0650 (cell)