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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Concern Over Spread of ASF


Recently veterinary regulators representing the United States, Canada and Mexico met to develop a common strategy to prevent introduction of African swine fever into the hog populations of North America. International programs will be developed to complement individual efforts by the three nations in the event of an outbreak.

The World Organization for Animal Health predicts that 25 percent of the world’s hogs estimated at one billion will succumb to the disease. This is attributed to the fact that there is no effective vaccine and in Asia and Eastern Europe, hog production is derived from relatively small farms with inadequate biosecurity necessitating transport of hogs over long distances to abattoirs.

Recent news reports confirm that travelers entering Japan, Australia, South Korea and Taiwan have been detained at airports for illegal and in many cases inadvertent introduction of pork products in their luggage. Two egregious cases documented in Australia resulted in immediate deportation of the travelers back to Vietnam, their point of origin. The beagle brigade at major airports frequently detects agricultural products including meat and other agricultural products in hand luggage. Unfortunately, surveillance at airports is incomplete, resulting in vulnerability to the introduction of infection.

Recently Dr. Don Davison affiliated with Cooper Farms commented or was misquoted as stating at a meeting in Ohio “It’s probably here already, it just hasn’t made its way to a pig yet”. This was a somewhat alarming comment devoid of substantiation. Irresponsible statements whether delivered at a regional meeting or reported in the media will reflect adversely on the stock price of major producers including Seaboard, Hormel and Tyson Foods.

It is understood that large U.S. hog producers have intensified biosecurity on their company and contractors’ farms to the benefit of the industry. In contrast to poultry, pigs do not fly and the challenge of migratory birds as with avian influenza is not a consideration in inter-continental transmission. All efforts should be directed to interdicting illegal movement of pork products from Asia and Eastern Europe to the U.S. To this end, increased surveillance at airports and other points of entry will be critical in maintaining a disease-free status in the U.S. and our neighboring NAFTA/USMCA neighbors.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane