Bans on live pig and pork exports, animal transport restrictions, market fluctuations, feed contamination millions of pigs at risk and producers affected: these are just some of the effects African Swine Fever has had on the global pork industry.
With more than 14 cases reported in six Chinese provinces, officials from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) last week said around 40,000 hogs had been culled so far to stop the disease from spreading.
Russian agriculture officials say the virus might have come to China through the European Union. Russia, Ghana and Romania are just a few of the countries that have also seen outbreaks of the virus this year.
Securing the U.S. Pork Supply
U.S. pork industry groups are collaborating to keep ASF from the U.S. If it does, Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, estimates a $8 billion loss for the pork industry in year one alone. That doesn’t include related losses of $4 billion and $1.5 billion for the affected input commodities of corn and soybeans, respectively.
The National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the Swine Health Information Center and USDA, the National Pork Board are working to provide prevention and response planning information.
“Collaboration can help to address concerns about potential risk associated with feed and feed component imports,” says Paul Sundberg, director of the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), which is funded by the Pork Checkoff. He points to research that’s being done to test bulk feed products and apply that learning to monitoring shipments for pathogen contamination.
Research into feed-pathogen mitigation options, feed additives, component holding time and temperature before processing, and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls and blockchain are being investigated with urgency, according to SHIC.
“Since there is not a vaccine for ASF, producers need to take the necessary steps on increasing biosecurity on their farms,” says Dave Pyburn, DVM, Checkoff’s vice-president of science and technology. “We will be working on improving areas such as rapid diagnosis, isolation protocols and elimination of contaminated materials, but it’s going to take a nationwide effort by all stakeholders to keep this disease from reaching this country. We all need to commit to immediate action, including preparing for full implementation of the Secure Pork Supply plan."