Regulations under Canada’s Health of Animals Act that took effect just over one year ago for producers of domestic swine now apply to producers of farmed wild boar.
Since July of last year federal regulations have required both the shipper and receiver of domestic swine to report movements to the PigTrace Canada database and those same regulations took effect for farmed wild boar July 1 of this year.
Mark Ferguson, the manager of industry and policy analysis with the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says the regulations treat the two species exactly the same.
“Movement information must be reported within seven days of departure and arrival by both the sender and receiver of the pigs and typically the movement information is reported to the PigTrace.Ca web site and database,” says Ferguson. “There are requirements for movement, reporting the movement and there’s requirements for identification, which is the physical mark that you put on the animals.”
He says farm to farm movements in Canada for pigs, generally the animals don’t need to be physically identified unless it’s a sow or a boar, a bred pig. However, whenever someone moves a pig, it’s important that a manifest document accompanies the pigs and that the movement is reported.”
Ferguson says pigs that go for slaughter or export must always be physically identified with either a slap tattoo or a tag bearing the farm’s herd mark. That’s what the requirements are for domesticated swine and the regulations treat the two species as exactly the same.
“So, when you’re moving to slaughter for wild boar, a tag with the herd mark on it or a slap tattoo with a herd mark on it, on the shoulder of the animal is an accepted form of identification, the same as with domesticated swine,” said Ferguson.
“We don’t have a really good handle on how many wild boar producers there are around the country,” he says. “At Sask Pork we’ve always registered domesticated swine producers.
We haven’t had a lot to do with wild boar producers so it’s kind of a new area for us and maybe that’s one of the reasons that they delayed the regulations coming into effect for wild boar for a year, is because the organizations that are administering the traceability program, we don’t have all of the wild boar producers registered and we weren’t ready to go last year on wild boar.”
Ferguson says they’d like to invite any wild boar producers to give them a call when they hear about this and get them to fill out a registration form and that’s basically the first step.
Once we have your information we can send you an information kit, we can get your account set up in PigTrace and issue you a herd mark and, once you have all of that, you’re basically in business.
For more information on the PigTrace program and the traceability equipment Ferguson recommends visiting the Canada PigTrace web site at PigTrace.Ca or calling Sask Pork at (306) 244-7752.
Back in November 2014, a master’s student with the University of Saskatchewan said it’s imperative to begin management of feral wild boar before their populations reach the point of no return.
Ruth Kost, a master’s student in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture, says they know they’re present but we have no idea what the numbers are in Saskatchewan or in Canada.
“They came to western Canada in the 80s and 90s and it was part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s attempt to diversify livestock so they brought in boar from Europe for agriculture purposes,” said Kost. “Then, as the industry started to decline, how we got the feral populations is a lot of releases occurred when the industry wasn’t lucrative anymore as well as escapes from the pens.”
The concern is disease. Feral boar are host to over 30 viral and bacterial diseases and over 37 parasites. Most of these can be transmitted not only to livestock but to wildlife and humans.
“Feral boar are an important wildlife host of these disease where potentially we wouldn’t have this disease present,” she said. “I cannot say that we do have these diseases in Canada.
A lot of the diseases that we research are in the U.S. but we haven’t done any research in Canada yet to determine if they’re present in feral boar populations. So this could cause a lot of economic loss to producers.”
Kost says in the U.S. wild boar populations have reached the point of no return. They aren’t there yet in Canada and it’s imperative that the industry begin management and eradication strategies so they don’t get to the point of no return in Canada where it’s too late to eradicate the problem.  •
— By Harry Siemens