OK Pork Industry Working with Neighbors to Develop Action Plan in Event of Swine Fever OutbreakWed, 21 Nov 2018 12:10:07 CST
With the recent introduction and spread of African Swine Fever in China, the global pork industry is working closely to stop the highly infectious disease in its tracks and contain the situation. To learn more about the industry’s efforts in this matter, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays reached out to Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council RoyLee Lindsey, who has just returned from Des Moines where he met with other industry stakeholders talking about this issue and what can be done to control it. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“When we start talking about African Swine Fever, let’s start with the thing that’s probably most important for the general public to know. That is - this is a disease that only effects swine. There is no human health implications, doesn’t impact food safety. There is none of those issues whatsoever,” Lindsey said. “From an industry perspective, it’s one of the three big diseases that we worry about every day. If and when we ever get a case of it here, it’s an immediate trade disrupter. All trade will stop and all of our export markets will close.”
Obviously, this would have a significant impact on the domestic market as values would plummet in the wake of a total halt to product movement, especially as the supply inventory continued to grow with nowhere to go. Lindsey says the industry is currently attempting to create a cohesive plan of action in the event that this does occur to limit any potential impact that may result.
“We’re working as an industry on ‘how do we put a plan together for mitigating the spread of the disease should it pop up here… how do we quickly identify it and quickly quarantine it…,’” he said. “We’re also working with the government on keeping it out of the country.”
With no vaccine available to reverse the effects of the disease, Lindsey says prevention is the best defense against this volatile contagion. One major concern is that it might travel to our shores on feedstuffs, where it can survive for a period of time. If fed to hogs before the disease had been totally neutralized, it could infect a swine population quite rapidly and undetected for several days while it continued to spread and potentially cause irreparable harm. Precautions are being taken though to ensure that imported feeds are shelved for a recommended wait time, which should eliminate any potential threat - which extends to processed pork products as well.
In the meantime, Lindsey and his peers will be sitting down with local State Veterinarians from Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas to coordinate a regional plan of action.
“If we wait until we have a crisis, it will be a absolute and utter disaster,” he said. “If we’ve done some planning and have some ideas and some thoughts of the steps we’re going to take, then we get a lot better and we’re a lot closer to being able to cope with a disaster and it not be the catastrophic event it would be otherwise.”
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