After the U.S. recently announced increased vigilance to keep African Swine Fever out, the Canadian government responded to a request to know what it’s doing.
It said “the Government of Canada takes seriously the threat posed by ASF to the health of our animals and the Canadian pork industry, which contributes $24 billion to the economy. Canada's pork industry is the country's fourth largest agricultural sector supporting over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“While ASF is not a risk to human health, it could have a significant impact on farms and those who rely on the pork industry.
“We are working closely with the farmers, processors, provinces, international partners, and government agencies to prevent the entry of ASF to Canada. In addition, we are working closely with the U.S. on ASF preparedness.
“With the Canadian Border Services Agency we are targeting passengers and goods coming from high-risk areas.
“Detector dog capacity (had been) redirected to Canada's international airports by CBSA.
“We are reaching travellers through a social media campaign that has been seen by 15 million people to date, and by working with airport authorities and travel suppliers to remind travellers that it is illegal to bring pork products and by-products into Canada.
“Major international airports have either already erected or are in the process of adding additional digital signage and posters on these topics in key areas of airports.”
The CFIA said “we are collaborating with the Canadian Pork Council on awareness and outreach for small producers and overall on-farm biosecurity.
“We are partnering with Canada's pork industry to help maintain a high level of vigilance and standards on pig farms. This includes getting information out to pig farms about measures and actions farmers can take to strengthen their efforts to prevent diseases such as ASF from infecting their animals.
"The industry is also developing a national standard to strengthen farm-level biosecurity.”
The CFIA said it is “working closely with industry, provincial and federal partners to prevent and respond to an outbreak of ASF.
“We are working . . . to reduce the risk from feed imports containing ASF entering Canada.
“We have instituted a federal, provincial and industry Executive Management Board on ASF to consider, adopt and implement actions rapidly, and to coordinate our efforts for maximum impact.”
It took four working days to get this answer. I can only hope the CFIA can react much faster to an outbreak.