April 11, 2019

World Pork Expo cancelled over ASF concerns


The National Pork Producers Council's (NPPC) board of directors announced on Wednesday its decision to cancel World Pork Expo 2019 as a precautionary measure against African swine fever (ASF) which continues to spread in China and other parts of Asia.

The annual expo hosts about 20,000 visitors each year, including individuals and exhibitors from ASF-positive regions. 

"While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution," says David Herring, NPPC president. "The health of the US swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defence against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States."

The decision to cancel this year's World Pork Expo comes as more than 100 US pork producers gather in Washington this week to meet with their members of Congress during NPPC's Legislative Action Conference. To strengthen the United States Department of Agriculture's efforts to protect the country from ASF and other animal diseases, the producers are asking Congress to appropriate funding for 600 new US Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen defences against ASF.

"Our farmers are highly export dependent," Herring adds. "An ASF outbreak would immediately close our export markets at a time when we are already facing serious trade headwinds. The retaliatory tariffs we currently face in some of our largest export markets due to trade disputes are among the factors that prompted a conservative decision regarding World Pork Expo. US pork producers are already operating in very challenging financial conditions."