Are you aware of the disease risks posed by wild pigs?

Canadian pork producers are advised to be mindful of the risk of the potential for disease transmission as the result of interactions among domestic farmed pigs and wild pigs.

18 March 2019, at 12:30pm

Concern over Canada's expanding wild pig population has been heightened as the result of the spread of African swine fever in China, other parts of Asia and Europe. In an interview with Farmscape.Ca, Dr Ryan Brook, a Professor in the College Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan, says there hasn't been much in the way of disease testing so knowledge is currently lacking in this area. There hasn't been any testing for any of the key reportable diseases that we might be particularly worried about and without testing, the risk is difficult to estimate.

Dr Brook explains: "Disease is something we should be, I think, particularly mindful of especially in the context of disease contact with domestic livestock. Backyard pig operations and other livestock definitely have a high chance of contact with rural diseases.

"Anywhere where there's feed, there's a chance of wild pigs coming in and feeding and having some potential indirect contact there.

"African swine fever, which has been a real problem in China and throughout Europe and Asia, has been a real concern for us. The investigations in North America have not found any cases and that is very positive news but the potential for introduction is there.

"Certainly in both Europe and Asia, they know that wild boar are infected and may have played some role in the transmission of the disease so far. Certainly if it gets into wild pigs in Canada, control will be infinitely harder than what would be the case on a domestic farm.

Dr Brook says we do know of free-ranging wild pigs jumping the fence and staying on farms with your average pink domestic pigs so we should keep track of such interactions.