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Biosecurity and animal health: Priorities for 2019

9 January 2019, at 12:00a.m.

CANADA - The Chair of the Canadian Pork Council says, as concerns related to animal health escalate in the face of new disease threats, biosecurity will be job one within Canada's pork sector in 2019

Challenges posed by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea in North America and now the spread of African Swine Fever in China, Russia and parts of Europe have put the spotlight on disease risk.

Rick Bergmann, the Chair of the Canadian Pork Council, says animal health is on the top of mind among Canada's pork producers.

Mr Bergmann said, "We see the challenge occurring around the world with African Swine Fever so biosecurity for the Canadian pork producer is job one.

"We see more and more involvement or priority taking place in this already, just the fact that we want to ensure that the herd health remains strong here.

"There have been different viruses that have been of concern.

"Most recently I would say the PED virus, and that has created the awareness of the devastation that can occur on farm.

"That's also made us aware of the fact that we have to have a strong biosecurity programme in place on farm as many people don't understand how diseases are spread.

"We want to make sure that the last line of defense, that is the farm, is highly maintained in its biosecurity programme to prevent any possible negative outcomes on animal health."

Mr Bergmann said, looking at the outlook for 2019, there's some cautious optimism as the result of new trade deals that have occurred.

He says that does create optimism and opportunity.