Canada to invest millions in ASF prevention measures

Canada to invest millions in ASF prevention measures

Tsekhmister |

$45.3 million will go toward prevention, mitigation and preparedness efforts

The government of Canada will invest up to CAD45.3 million (US$34.7 million) to enhance efforts to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from entering Canada and prepare for a potential outbreak. The funding will be critical in reducing the risk of introduction and spread of ASF in Canada.

ASF is a fatal swine disease that spreads through both direct and indirect contact with infected pigs, pork, and pork byproducts. Preventing the spread of ASF into Canada requires a collaborative approach to protect Canada’s pork industry, while helping the industry prepare for a timely and coordinated response to limit the potential impact of an outbreak.

To help ensure high levels of vigilance in the face of the threat of African swine fever, the government of Canada is investing up to CAD23.4 million to support the pork industry’s prevention and mitigation efforts. This funding is intended to support critical priorities for preparedness, such as biosecurity assessments, coordination for wild pig management, retrofit of existing abattoirs, sector analysis and ASF-related research projects. Program details are being developed and the program will be launched as soon as possible.

In addition, up to CAD19.8 million will be invested in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) prevention and preparedness efforts. This is intended to support work such as further enhancing laboratory capacity, establish zoning arrangements with additional trading partners, and contributing to international efforts to develop a safe and effective ASF vaccine that meets the needs of Canadian farms.

Although Canada has never had a case of ASF, the disease continues to spread in several regions around the world. A single case of ASF in Canada would immediately result in the closure of Canada’s borders to pork exports, which accounts for 70% of Canadian pork production. With up to CAD2.1 million in funding dedicated to enhancing the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) border control activities, the government of Canada intends to support measures that continue to prevent the entry of high-risk pork and pork products by enhancing public awareness, improving commercial targeting, and developing training for border services officers.

Canada is recognized internationally as having strong programs in place to prevent and control the spread of foreign animal diseases into and within the country. Through close collaboration with domestic and international partners, the government will continue to take a leadership role in preventing and mitigating the potential impact of ASF, should it ever be introduced into the country.

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Jason Dale says:

While ASF obviously has many points of attack (the border being the most obvious), there is constant concern centering around site and barn access from human cross contamination. The most logical way that this is kept under control would be to limit human entry onto and into any pork production facility. As the industry grapples with how to limit unnecessary access to sites, more and more producers are turning to sensors and technology to reduce foot traffic through these highly sensitive areas. Something as simple as a feed bin monitor goes a long way in limiting the amount of shower ins/outs that employees may have to undertake (in order to gather feed bin inventories) as well as limiting the number of truck visits there may be to a site (by optimizing feed delivery decisions as a downstream affect of having real time feed bin inventories). The other corollary benefit to this is combating the ongoing labor issues within the barn management and driver sectors.

IoT devices offer a cost effective and flexible way to look to the future when looking at how to limit diseases like ASF, but also AI and others.