The federal and British Columbia governments are putting up funding for the province’s pork sector to fend off porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) before it arrives there.
The two levels of government on Thursday pledged $613,050 from the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) ag policy funding framework for “increased surveillance and preventative measures” to keep livestock diseases from spreading to B.C.
The funding provided to the B.C. Pork Producers Association “results in immediate action to reduce the risk of (PED) arriving in B.C., and prepare measures to rapidly respond and contain the disease if it should ever enter the province,” the governments said.
Actions planned include setting up “enhanced biosecurity efforts” at the two facilities that handle pigs from within and from outside the province. Said efforts will involve livestock transport trucks as well as “driver-sanitation measures,” the governments said.
Two pork processing plants and 21 hog farms will also be funded to develop “response and containment plans” for quick response if PED arrives. The money will also go to support “enhanced auditing and application of national standards for on-farm biosecurity.”
The province’s pork industry has also pledged to cost-share any activities that include buying equipment and/or putting up infrastructure related to boosting biosecurity, the governments said.
The surveillance and preventive measures to be backed with this funding “really help reduce the chances of PED arriving and spreading in our province,” PCPPA president Jack Dewit said in the governments’ release.
“Some U.S. farmers have been devastated by the outbreak of PED in their states, so B.C. producers clearly recognize the value of the on-the-ground action and response plans this funding brings to us.”
Provincial Ag Minister Norm Letnick noted the province recently passed an updated Animal Health Act aimed at limiting the spread of “current and emerging diseases” such as PED, and improving response to outbreaks.
The virus that causes PED can be transmitted through animal feces among vehicles or equipment and can cause diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration in infected hogs, with mortality rates of up to 100 per cent in infected groups of nursing-age piglets. The virus is not considered a human health or food safety risk.
Previously seen only in parts of Europe and Asia, PED arrived in the U.S. early last year and has since been confirmed in hogs on over 6,400 farms across 30 states. Some estimates put the number of hogs killed by PED as high as seven million head.
The virus was first confirmed in hogs in Canada in January this year, and has been confirmed in hogs on 62 farms: 58 in Ontario, two in southeastern Manitoba and one each in Quebec and Prince Edward Island. Cases have also been confirmed in hogs at two “high-traffic” off-farm sites in Manitoba. — AGCanada.com Network