The Chair of Manitoba Pork suggests the Canadian and U.S. pork industries can best address the risks posed by swine disease and prepare for the potential introduction of a foreign animal disease outbreak by working together.

On Tuesday pork industry representatives gathered in Minneapolis for the Canada-U.S. Upper Midwest Pork Industry Summit.

The primary focus of the summit was swine health and how stakeholders in the U.S. and Canada can work together to mitigate the diseases that affect swine.

George Matheson, the Chair of Manitoba Pork, says we have a big long open border and we need a continental approach to disease management in North America and we need better information sharing about disease incidence and prevalence.

I think over the past 12 years, especially with Manitoba visiting Iowa, Minnesota for their pork congresses and their summer pork expo we’ve put a face to the industry and helped both sides realize that we’re integrated and we have a great many similarities so we may as well battle our foes together so to speak.

In Canada we have the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network. Its counterpart in the U.S. is the Swine Health Information Center so we’re both after the same thing. I would say the information in North America is very good.

What I think we have to work on though in the future is diseases around the world, where they are, what they are and what the chances are of them moving into North America.

~ George Matheson, Manitoba Pork

Matheson says there is a recognition that there needs to be a plan in place in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak. He says it’s something everyone hates to think about but a basic plan at least is needed for mass euthanasia and disposal of animals and the feeling is the two industries can collaborate and come up with such a plan together.