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Swine Health Plays Key Role in Economic Prosperity

by 5m Editor
4 November 2011, at 10:32am

CANADA - Canada's chief veterinary officer and chief food safety officer says the health of Canada's swine herd has a key role to play in helping pork producers contribute to Canada's economy, Bruce Cochrane writes.

The economic importance of swine health to competitiveness and trade was among the topics discussed yesterday as part of the Canadian Swine Health Board's third Canadian Swine Health Forum in Niagara Falls.

Dr Brian Evans, the chief veterinary officer and chief food safety officer with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, observes, over the years we've seen anywhere from 50 to 70 per cent of the swine produced in Canada being exported and the truth is nobody is going to buy unsafe or unhealthy products.

Dr Brian Evans-Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The reality of today is we have much more sensitive diagnostic methods.

Our ability to detect is so much higher than it used to be we live in a global reality of movement of people and products and associated with that can be bacteria or viruses or other things.

We're living in a world as people will recognize with changing ecosystems that open up new pathways for pathogens to evolve from, the reassortment of urban centres and passing back and forth of these pathogens between animals and people.

The whole world is one where the paradigm is significantly different than what it was 10 or 20 years ago and those changes in themselves mean that we have to be much more vigilant.

We have to have in place systems that are able to detect changes in a much more proactive way and it allows us to be much more selective in the types of interventions that are made that respect society values around animal welfare, that respect society's values around ensuring that animals that are raised for food that there is a return to the producer for doing the right thing and that there is a value placed on the protein produced by that animal during its lifetime in terms of nutrition.


Dr Evans says swine health is a very important determinant of market confidence.

He says whether we export semen or embryos or live animals or pork products, other countries want to be assured we're not introducing something into their production sector that could cause economic harm and that their food safety parameters are being met.