The Chair of Manitoba Pork suggests restrictions on the import of feed from ASF affected countries or quarantines on those products would be valuable in helping reduce the chance of the virus entering North America.

The main issues discussed last week, as a delegation representing Manitoba Pork travelled to Minneapolis for the 2019 Minnesota Pork Congress and to met with fellow producers and U.S. government representatives, included trade and animal health.

George Matheson, the Chair of Manitoba Pork, says front and center was African Swine Fever and how producers in the two countries might work together to mitigate the chance of it entering North America.

It’s pretty much concluded in the industry that, if it enters, it would be through feed or illegal meat imports. We’ve always felt that, although we couldn’t specify how PED entered North America, that it was quite likely that the virus came in on feed.

Since ASF started in Russia, it’s now in western Europe to some degree and is right across China. We feel that a number of imports, most likely organic soy meal, that the virus could be found in. At the very least we would like to have these feeds quarantined before they’re fed to any pigs in North America.

As far as feed goes, right now the action is just making our respective governments aware that this could very well be a vehicle that the virus could enter on. We hope that actions, as I mentioned, quarantine or absolute restriction of those imports take place.

~ George Matheson, Manitoba Pork

Matheson says both countries are on the same page on the issue of animal health. He says, the feeling is that we can meet domestic feed requirements with feed produced in North America and it makes sense to avoid imports from China until the disease is cleared up there.