The National Pork Producer’s Council says harmonizing animal health regulations within North America will be key to addressing a foreign animal disease outbreak should one occur.
Strategies to prevent the introduction of a foreign animal disease into North America and plans to deal with an outbreak should one occur have become a top of mind issue within the pork sector.
Dr. Liz Wagstrom, the Chief Veterinarian with the National Pork Producer’s Council, says there’s a lot of discussion and a lot of sharing of information but the lack of harmonized protocols is challenging.
There is a lot movement in North America of animals. We get a lot of Canadian pigs that come to the United States, we send a lot of pork from the U.S. to both Canada and Mexico so the goal is to be harmonized and be able to all work together. If you looked at an outbreak in any one of the countries, it’s important that the other countries would accept any regionalization that might happen.
It’s important that we are harmonized on things like diagnostic test results, that we would accept each other’s lab results. Again those are ongoing discussions, not only on Foot and Mouth Disease but any of the foreign animal diseases.
With African Swine Fever we’ve had recent meetings where we have looked at saying what would it take to regionalize, how can we look at sharing diagnostic data, how can we look at validating diagnostic tests that we can accept each other’s laboratory results. It’s not just Foot and Mouth Disease but any foreign animal disease, that it behooves us, number one to keep them out of North American and number two, within North America to be harmonized.
~ Dr. Liz Wagstrom, National Pork Producer’s Council
Dr. Wagstrom says the pork sector has been very focused on prevention and now is moving into discussions on what to do in the event of a Foreign Animal Disease and what can we do to help each other eradicate the disease.