By Jennifer Shike
March 16, 2021 USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced a new protocol on Tuesday to help ensure bilateral trade will continue if African swine fever (ASF) is detected in feral pigs in either country, while still absent from domestic pigs. The protocol’s intent is to protect the swine populations in both countries during an outbreak of ASF in feral swine, while minimizing the effect on the trade of live swine, swine products and other swine commodities, APHIS said in a release.
The protocol outlines that all trade between both countries would initially stop if ASF is detected in feral swine. Then, trade would resume in three progressive phases with increasingly reduced restrictions on live swine, swine germplasm and untreated swine commodities.
“Continuing trade with Canada in the event of a feral African swine fever detection is important to our stakeholders, and this trade protocol provides the necessary guidance to minimize the impact to the swine industry,” USDA Chief Veterinarian Burke Healey said in a release. “This collaborative effort uses a science-based approach to ensure trade between both countries resumes as quickly as possible.”
The speed at which the U.S. and Canada establish initial control areas, initiate surveillance/case findings and removal in feral swine, and start surveillance in captive swine, will determine when the countries enter phase two of the protocol. During the third and final phase, trade restrictions are reduced to the boundaries of the established control area, APHIS said.
APHIS and CFIA will continue to work with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that both countries have the processes and procedures in place to fully carry out the protocol.
USDA is partnering with the swine industry, hog producers, other government agencies and neighboring countries to keep this deadly virus out of North America. At the same time, APHIS points out that the U.S. does have response plans in place and incident management teams ready to deploy in case ASF does reach the U.S. swine herd. More information on ASF, partner resources, and additional resources for producers and veterinarians are available on the APHIS ASF webpage.