August 29, 2022


Canada provides $45 million funding to support pork industry in fighting ASF



Canada is investing $45 million to help its pork industry deal with a potential outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).


About $23 million will support the pork sector's efforts to prevent and mitigate the spread of the disease. It will go toward biosecurity assessments, co-ordination for wild pig management, retrofit of existing abattoirs and ASF-related research projects.


Nearly $20 million will be invested in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to support laboratory capacity and other efforts to maintain a productive hog industry should the disease appear in Canada. Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the funding on August 26 in Quebec City.


"The detection of African swine fever in our country would be catastrophic for both Manitoba and Canada's hog sector," said Manitoba Pork chair Rick Préjet. "Manitoba's hog farmers are pleased that the federal government recognises the threat that this disease poses not only to our sector, but our economy as well."


Canada has never had a case of ASF, but the disease is present in China, Vietnam, Eastern Europe, Poland, Germany and dozens of other countries. Last year, the virus was detected in a pig herd in the Dominican Republic, increasing the risk of it arriving in North America.


"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," an August 26 Agriculture Canada news release stated, announcing the funding.


It also added: "The CFIA has already confirmed zoning arrangements to help manage ASF and facilitate international trade with the United States, European Union, Singapore and Vietnam."


Establishing zones and keeping ASF from spreading within Canada will require co-ordination and investment in biosecurity, improved management of wild pigs and other efforts to prepare for an outbreak.


"Preparedness will allow the pork industry to reduce the impact of the disease for a quicker recovery," said Chris White, president and chief executive of the Canadian Meat Council.


A key part of the preparation and mitigation is the Pan Canadian Action Plan on ASF led by Animal Health Canada. The plan has four aspects dedicated to different aspects of a potential outbreak:


    - Enhanced biosecurity and prevention;


    - Preparedness planning;


    - Ensure business continuity;


    - Co-ordinated risk communications.


A small portion of the new funding, around $2 million, will go toward improved inspection at airports and land borders to keep infected meat products out of the country.

- The Western Producer

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