As the count goes up, and the numbers of farms having the PED virus, obviously the emotions take a hit, and the excitement looking forward, crumbles into outright fear if it hasn’t hit yet.
Aside from all this, the clear message the industry leaders are sending, don’t relax or pull back on the vigilance and biosecurity protocols just because it’s now in Canada.
Karl Kynoch, chair of Manitoba Pork Council says the concern is optimum, and that means step up to the plate and keep hitting home runs, meaning do everything possible to keep out, if in already, contain and eradicate.
“We’ve been working very closely with the chief vet and other staff of Manitoba government to develop some sort of action plan to help contain this disease and slow the spread of it,” said Kynoch. “Governments and industry would then work together on this plan and implement it and to help reduce the spread.”
However, the key right now with four farms infected in Ontario, Kynoch encourages the province’s pork producers to maintain their focus on biosecurity as the Canadian pork industry mounts its response to the first four confirmed cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea in Canada.
“The longer we go without an infection in Manitoba, the more veterinarians can learn about it, the more we try to figure out how it spreads, and try to get a chance to figure out how the traceability is on it, just to see where it’s come from,” Kynoch says. “The one advantage we have in Canada is the ten months of lead time since it broke in the U.S. and to learn from them.”
Manitoba will keep watching and learning from the Americans and from the Ontario industry, watching very closely on what works and what doesn’t work for them.
“That is why the plan we are developing here will be on-going with updates as we learn more about this,” he said. “Timing is very crucial in this now. The first cases in Ontario, very close to Canada in the U.S. and trucks crossing the border every day. It could break out at any time almost anywhere.
The MPC chair can’t emphasize enough biosecurity is the big key to this thing. People need to remember even all the little things.
“It could be as small as somebody coming onto your yard just to deliver parcels or delivery of feed products, all these type of things,” he says. “If a truck is coming onto your yard to load pigs the producer needs to make sure the truck is washed and disinfected before it comes onto the yard. Once it’s backed up to the barn and they’ve started loading the pigs, that could be too late so the thing is to make sure they know where the truck has come from, and if cleaned and disinfected properly before.”
Kynoch says changing cloths, and the employees whereabouts are all things each person in the business must think about.
Kynoch urges producers to monitor their herds closely for PED like symptoms and immediately report any suspect cases to their herd veterinarian.
This isn’t the time to hide your troubles, but to be transparent and follow the proper channels and procedures. The importance of early notification and the sooner the producer notifies their vet they have this disease, the better everyone can work together re government, producer, industry to try to contain the disease.
“One of the things noted by producers in the US, if we had to do it over they would have focused much more on early containment,” said Kynoch.
“PEDv is something we will have to learn from others who’ve have this dreaded disease,” he says. “There is no way really to prevent the spread, nothing so far people have learned that is completely soundproof.”
Kynoch returned from an advocacy tour in Minnesota and Iowa amidst much discussion with producers where the disease is running fairly rampant for the past ten months.
“The main concern the Americans have is they’ve not yet figured out exactly how it spreads and how to completely contain it,” he says. “The industry must keep washing trucks and disinfecting and it is very important to carry out these protocols and carry them out well. And yet it has spread into areas very concerning and mysterious to producers.”
Kynoch says one other very important aspect is the public needs to know clearly this is not a food and health safety issue.
“While a big deal in Ontario, producers need to remember those cases are 24 hours away by truck, while Minnesota where they have the disease is four to six hours away,” he says. “Hopefully, as it gets closer to the border from the south, there are fewer hogs and that will slow it down.” •
— By Harry Siemens