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Backyard pig producers and feral pigs represent ASF risk for Canada

by 5m Editor
18 December 2018, at 12:00am

A member of the Swine Health Ontario leadership team says backyard swine producers and feral wild pigs represent weak points in the defence against an incursion of African swine fever into Canada.

African swine fever, a viral disease specifically of pigs which causes high mortality and for which there is no vaccine, is present in Africa and Europe including the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria and in Asia, spreading rapidly within China.

Dr Catherine Templeton, a partner with South West Ontario Veterinary Services and a Swine Health Ontario leadership team member, told an African Swine Fever Telephone Town Hall, hosted earlier this month by Swine Health Ontario, the Ontario Pork Industry Council and Ontario Pork, there has been several fact sheets circulated which outline the risks.

Dr Templeton explains:

“Swine Health Ontario, in coordination with the Ontario Animal Health Swine Network and CPC has provided information fact sheets for producers and industry partners. Specifically there is a fact sheet for backyard pig producers.

“We consider backyard pig producers to be a risk to the industry because their pigs are often not confined and are more likely to receive kitchen waste and have less biosecurity controls over the operations over all.

“There have also been meetings on wild and feral pig risks. In Europe these pigs have been instrumental in spreading the disease so there's been meetings with the Ministry of Natural Resources and experts in this area.”

Dr Templeton notes parts of western Canada have very big wild pig populations and suggests it would be of value to determine the number of wild pigs in Canada.

She notes there is a point at which the population becomes uncontrollable, a situation in which Texas and other parts of the United States find themselves.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape.Ca