Canada hosts international forum on African swine fever

From: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

April 30, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, welcomes over 150 delegates from 15 countries to the forum on African swine fever (ASF).

A global threat, ASF cannot be addressed in isolation and the Government of Canada is committed to collaboration between international representatives, industry, and the provinces to prevent and mitigate the risk of this animal disease.

Minister Bibeau is providing opening remarks for the forum and is joined by Mr. Greg Ibach, Under Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, on behalf of US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Leaders and key decision makers from Canadian and international governments, as well as domestic and international industry stakeholders, will work together to develop a framework based on a foundation of science in four areas:

  • Preparedness Planning
  • Enhanced Biosecurity
  • Ensure Business Continuity
  • Coordinated Risk Communications

The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for Canada, Dr. Jaspinder Komal, and the CVO for the United States, Dr. Jack Shere, are leading the two-day forum to address the risk of ASF that is currently impacting pigs in Europe and Asia.

The forum represents another piece in Canada’s proactive and collaborative approach to protecting Canada’s fourth largest agricultural sector, which contributes approximately $24 billion to the Canadian economy annually.

In light of the pace at which ASF is spreading through parts of Asia and Europe, the Government of Canada continues taking action to protect its pigs and the economy, including but not limited to:

  • providing new funding of up to $31 million to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports;
  • implementing additional import control measures to prevent infected plant-based feed ingredients from ASF-affected countries from entering Canada; and
  • engaging international partners on approaches to zoning, so that trade disruptions can be minimized, should ASF enter Canada.

“I am committed to continuing Canada’s efforts to prevent the introduction of African swine fever into the country. By working collaboratively, producers, the Canadian public at large and the international community can help to stop the spread of this deadly disease affecting swine populations. We are holding this forum to address a common threat.”

– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The Forum is an opportunity to learn from others’ experiences to better prevent the entry of ASF in the Americas and to ensure a high state of readiness to swiftly control and eradicate the disease should it enter the region. Informed discussions around enhanced biosecurity, trade impacts and communications will strengthen our countries’ actions and the effectiveness of our collaborations.”

– Dr. Jaspinder Komal, Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada

Quick facts

  • Dr. Komal and Dr. Shere will be joined by Dr. Matthew Stone, Deputy Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health, Dr. Etienne Bonbon, Senior Veterinary Advisor, Emergency Management Centre for Animal Health of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and industry leaders Neil Dierks, Chief Executive Officer of the National Pork Producers Council, and Rick Bergman, President of the Board for the Canadian Pork Council to open the event.

  • ASF is a serious viral disease that can cause fever, internal bleeding and high death rates in pigs. It is highly contagious and can spread rapidly through both direct and indirect contact with infected pigs or pork products. ASF only affects members of the pig family (that is humans cannot contract the disease).

  • There is no treatment or vaccine for ASF.

  • There is no evidence that the ASF virus can infect humans, and it is not considered a food safety risk.

  • Canada’s pork industry contributes over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, mainly in Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario, and generates approximately $24 billion to the Canadian economy. In 2017, Canada exported 1.2 million tonnes of pork to over 100 countries at a total value of $4 billion.

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