Source: American Association of Swine Veterinarians
Swine disease knows no national boundaries, and thousands of pigs are transported between the United States and Canada creating greater chance of disease spread.
With that in mind, Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center, is participating with swine industry representatives from the United States and Canada to create and implement industry-wide, North American standard operating procedures for transportation-related biocontainment.
Practitioners from the United States, Canada, National Pork Board, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Canadian Pork Council, packing industry representatives and transportation subject matter experts are collaborating on the project. This group desires to involve more stakeholders in this process with the ultimate goal of decreasing the incidence of disease associated with marketing transportation of pigs and sows to the first points of concentration.
With the lessons of porcine epidemic diarrhea and other disease transmission fresh in their memories, Sundberg says they hope to capture the urgency felt across the swine industry to prevent pathogens from being carried back to the farm from first points of concentration, where they must be contained.
The program will look for the best biocontainment recommendations from the variety of transportation biosecurity programs now in the industry, and develop a list of basic procedures at these facilities. Focusing on biocontainment will help solidify a common foundation for actionables in other programs as it emphasizes how transporters and markets act at their interface.
To be successful, the group launching this effort recognizes the need to engage producers, packers, sow assembly yards and buying stations, as well as those who transport pigs in the conversation. Doing so will help to grow the collective industry “political will” essential in implementing recommendations and that will differentiate the outcome of this project from the other transportation biosecurity SOPs currently available from multiple programs. Together, with input and support from all stakeholders and clear, mutually beneficial objectives, SOPs can be developed, implemented and enforced to decrease the spread of pathogens.
The group will continue its efforts to engage all stakeholders as well as achieving its objectives which are outlined on the SHIC website.
The mission of the SHIC is to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd through coordinated global disease monitoring, targeted research investments that minimize the impact of future disease threats, and analysis of swine health data. For more information, visit the SHIC website or contact Sundberg.