By Bruce Cochrane
The general manager of Manitoba Pork says a pilot project introduced in 2014 has clearly demonstrated its value in reducing the risk of disease entering Canada from the U.S.
As part of a pilot project introduced in February 2014 to prevent the introduction of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea into Canada, swine transport vehicles returning from the U.S. have been sealed at the border and then cleaned and disinfected at wash facilities in Manitoba.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has agreed to delay the resumption of enforcement of previous regulations requiring those vehicles to be washed in the U.S. before returning to Canada from mid January to early May to allow further evaluation.
Manitoba Pork general manager Andrew Dickson points out the pilot strategy has been highly successful.
Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork:
The U.S. had a significant infection of pigs with PEDv.
They lost 8,000,000 baby pigs as a result of this disease.
If we had a similar outbreak in Manitoba we could easily lose $100,000,000 to $200,000,000 worth of value of animals every year ongoing.
We know in the United States, they're trying to live with the disease, they're trying to get it under control and all the advice we've had from places like the United States and Ontario has been to keep up our guard on this, as we're doing right now.
Producers need a series of rings of defense.
Not only do they have to practice very high levels of biosecurity on their farms but assembly yards are making every effort to try and control the spread of disease there and if we can control the entry of the disease into this region at the points of entry, like the border points from the United States, then it provides us additional security that keeps the disease out.
Dickson acknowledges there is some debate over the best way to control disease in the transportation system but this pilot project, over two years, has demonstrated its value and this approach is also very effective in controlling the spread of other diseases.