Herd Health | Ontario Pork
Sunday, April 14, 2024

Herd Health & Pig Code

The health of animals is a concern and a priority for the Ontario swine sector. Animal health touches not only aspects of public health and food safety, but also the economic costs that animal disease out breaks can trigger as well as animal welfare considerations including the implications of disease control. Animal health measures and systems of disease surveillance, diagnosis and control help to strengthen the industry and ensure the continued production of high quality pork for consumers, retailers and trading partners.


Pig Code of Practice

The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs was released in 2014 by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC).

View the Pig Code


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Swine Health Ontario

Swine Health Ontario is a new leadership team with a long term vision of excellence in swine health management that gives the provincial swine industry a global competitive advantage.

Led by Ontario Pork (OP) and the Ontario Pork Industry Council (OPIC), a new course has been set to improve and better coordinate the swine industry’s capacity to prevent, prepare for and respond to serious threats to swine health in Ontario. 

An independent swine health leadership team called “Swine Health Ontario” will ensure that swine health efforts are coordinated and aligned with a long-term proactive responsive strategy. 

Building on its recent success that minimized the impact of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in Ontario, the swine industry wants to continue that collaborative effort and improve swine health for the future.


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Antimicrobial Resistance

It is a delicate balancing act for pork producers to maintain a healthy herd and ensure the responsible use of antibiotics. As antimicrobial resistance becomes a growing concern and the need for increased surveillance systems more pressing, Ontario producers continue to follow best practices, seek counsel from veterinarians and work within the regulatory requirements.

Vaccine and Drug Use Policy (2018)

1. Overview of the CPC’s Vaccine and Drug Use Policy
2. New Rules for the Access and Use of Veterinary Drugs
3. Responsible Use of Veterinary Products

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Some farmers may ask that you to take a shower or wear plastic boots over your shoes before you go into their barn. Other farms do not allow any visitors at all - people or animals. This is all part of a farmer’s biosecurity measures. Biosecurity is not only a locked door, but additional security to keep out bugs (disease-carrying organisms such as bacteria and viruses). Not allowing visitors into the barn helps to keep germs or sickness to a minimum. Pig diseases can be carried from place to place on individuals without them even knowing or being affected. Manure on footwear, bacteria on skin or even dirt under fingernails can contain germs. Farmers give their pigs medicine when they are sick, but prefer prevention over treatment.


National Biosecurity Program

The Canadian Swine Health Board (CSHB) launched a National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard in the fall of 2010. Ontario Pork coordinated the biosecurity program provincially and over 1100 pork producers completed the on-farm component. National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard Manual 

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Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED)

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) is a viral disease causing vomiting, diarrhea, and high death loss in pigs. It is caused by a coronavirus. After introduction of the virus into a naïve sow herd, acute outbreaks of watery diarrhea will be seen. In nursing piglets the disease can be severe with mortalities reported up to 100%. In growing pigs, there is widespread diarrhea with low mortality.

Sampling has been ongoing at assembly yards, trucking yards and processing plants since January 25. Some positive samples have been found; many negative samples have been found.

Where positive samples are found, cleaning and disinfection is heightened. All parts of the supply chain are encouraged to maintain strict biosecurity to limit the virus’ spread.

Swine Health Ontario - PED Tracking Map




Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act (Bill 136) came into effect on January 1, 2020, replacing the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (OSPCA). PAWS is enforced by Animal Welfare Services (AWS).

Reporting concerns about animal care

Ontario Pork is committed to high standards of animal care, as outlined under Canada’s Pig Code. Please note, as of April 1, 2019, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is no longer involved in livestock investigations or enforcement. Ontario Pork continues to work with government, police and agricultural groups to develop a sustainable, responsible and effective way forward. If you have concerns about an animal welfare situation involving pigs in Ontario, please contact Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or your local police service. A listing of regional police services can be found here Additional information is available through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The Agriculture Information Contact Centre can be reached 24 hours a day, at 1-877-424-1300.