Sask Pork is also contributing to the cause
By Diego Flammini
The Saskatchewan government and the province’s pork sector are making investments to help the industry handle challenges associated with African swine fever (ASF).
The provincial government is investing $700,000 to support swine disease mitigation efforts.
And Sask Pork is contributing $300,000 to a swine market disruption plan, which will put the industry in a position to respond to market issues related to animal health emergencies like ASF.
To date, ASF has never been detected in Canada.
But countries like Germany and Italy, who export pork to Canada, have had cases of ASF in recent years.
This funding will help create a cull line at the sow processing facility at Donalds’ Fine Foods in Moose Jaw.
Pigs would be sent there if a serious swine disease ever interrupted trade.
"The pork industry has been working diligently on both prevention, such as biosecurity improvements, and preparedness, so infrastructure is in place to respond if African swine fever were to enter the country," Sask Pork Board Chair Toby Tschetter said in a statement.
And while Saskatchewan is taking steps to mitigate risks associated with ASF, the Manitoba government is calling on continued collaboration between the provinces and federal government to keep the disease out of the country.
It is “crucial that provinces and territories remain committed to working together to prevent African swine fever from entering the country and to be prepared with measures to protect producers if it does,” he told his fellow ag ministers on Jan. 13.
Other provinces have made targeted investments to keep Canada’s pork industry safe from ASF.
In November 2021, for example, Ontario and Ottawa invested nearly $3 million into three initiatives to support ASF prevention.
This funding helped farmers and processors support training, education and planning for ASF risks.
And in February 2022, Manitoba and the federal government announced an investment of $680,900 into two projects aimed at protecting swine health.
Those investments included the Invasive Swine Eradication Initiative Project.
The project “will help mitigate the thread of disease spread by invasive pigs, particularly the highly contagious African swine fever…,” the Manitoba government said at the time.
The federal government has also put money towards an ASF plan.
In August 2022, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced up to $45.3 million in funding to prevent ASF from entering Canada.
The funding is divided between the pork sector, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency.