Last week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continued its efforts in support of African swine fever preparedness and mitigation, hosting ASF exercises in both Quebec and Western Canada.
“These exercises are key to coordinating activities in the event that ASF is reported in Canada,” says Jaspinder Komal, Canada's chief veterinary officer in a statement following the events. “I want to stress that ASF has never been in Canada and it is through activities such as the June 18 exercises that we are making concerted efforts to keep it that way. We also recognize that our country must be fully prepared for all scenarios, so a key element of our work together focuses on preparedness.”
CFIA Quebec area ASF exercise
CFIA's Quebec Area, the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec and the Équipe québécoise de santé porcine took part in the exercise, which involved a simulated scenario in which ASF was suspected on a hog farm in Quebec.
Participants were located in Gaspé, Montreal, Quebec City, St-Hyacinthe and Moncton, NB, and communicated through videoconference and phone.
The scenario allowed participants to:
- practice implementing initial disease control measures.
- exchange information between CFIA, MAPAQ and the local pork industry.
- discuss the possibility of voluntary movement stoppages by industry.
- practice resource planning for establishing quarantines and reporting infected premises.
“The exercise met all of the planned objectives, including validating the strategies to be used to coordinate actions of the different parties if ASF is suspected in Quebec,” Komal says. “The day's activities were timely, relevant and beneficial to improve preparedness against ASF and other animal diseases. They confirmed the value of carrying on with preparedness activities, exploring additional training and updating response plans.”
CFIA Western area ASF exercise
More than 30 government and industry representatives met in Winnipeg to discuss potential issues and challenges if ASF is reported in Western Canada.
Pork producers, processors and organizations such as the Animal Welfare Council of Canada and PigTrace joined with CFIA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and provincial CVOs in the day-long meeting. Discussions focused on:
- organizing a multi-province Incident Command Structure to respond to an ASF outbreak.
- planning for destruction and disposal of pigs for disease control and market purposes.
- monitoring interprovincial and export movement of pigs at various stages of production.
- using zoning and compartmentalization for disease response and eradication.
“The exercise resulted in important steps forward. Participants committed to creating a formal ICS and to forming a steering committee consisting of federal, provincial and industry partners,” Komal says. “The committee will identify planning gaps and work out a joint Emergency Operations Center structure.”