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Canada invests $45.3 million to boost ASF prevention, preparedness

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Funding will support biosecurity assessments, coordination for wild pig management, retrofit of existing abattoirs and African swine fever research.

On Friday, Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $45.3 million to enhance efforts to prevent African swine fever from entering Canada and prepare for a potential outbreak. The funding will be critical in reducing the risk of introduction and spread of ASF in Canada.

ASF is a fatal swine disease that spreads through both direct and indirect contact with infected pigs, pork and pork by-products. Preventing the spread of ASF into Canada requires a collaborative approach to protect Canada's pork industry, while helping the industry prepare for a timely and coordinated response to limit the potential impact of an outbreak.

"We must continue to work as a team - federal, provincial and territorial governments together with industry, to prevent African swine fever from entering the country. Strengthening the measures already in place is essential to protecting the hog sector and the vitality of rural communities," said Bibeau.

To help ensure high levels of vigilance in the face of the threat of African swine fever, the Government of Canada is investing up to $23.4 million to support the pork industry's prevention and mitigation efforts. This funding is intended to support critical priorities for preparedness, such as biosecurity assessments, coordination for wild pig management, retrofit of existing abattoirs, sector analysis and ASF-related research projects. Program details are being developed and the program will be launched as soon as possible.

In addition, up to $19.8 million will be invested in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's prevention and preparedness efforts. This is intended to support work such as further enhancing laboratory capacity, establish zoning arrangements with additional trading partners, and contributing to international efforts to develop a safe and effective ASF vaccine that meets the needs of Canadian farms.

Although Canada has never had a case of ASF, the disease continues to spread in several regions around the world. A single case of ASF in Canada would immediately result in the closure of Canada‚Äôs borders to pork exports, which accounts for 70% of Canadian pork production. With up to $2.1 million in funding dedicated to enhancing the Canada Border Services Agency's border control activities, the Government of Canada intends to support measures that continue to prevent the entry of high-risk pork and pork products by enhancing public awareness, improving commercial targeting and developing training for border services officers.

Canada is recognized internationally as having strong programs in place to prevent and control the spread of foreign animal diseases into and within the country. Through close collaboration with domestic and international partners, the Government will continue to take a leadership role in preventing and mitigating the potential impact of ASF, should it ever be introduced into the country. 

"This announcement is significant and purposeful for Canadian pork producers. We welcome the government's investment towards keeping ASF out of our country and of our farms. We have seen the negative impact of ASF in other parts of the world which demonstrates the need for this collaboration between government and our sector," said Rick Bergman, chair of the Canadian Pork Council.

Source: Government of Canada, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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