Oklahoma Pork Council Participates in Industrywide Drill to Enhance Foreign Animal Disease PreparednessFri, 27 Sep 2019 14:56:33 CDT
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) led a functional exercise with the Oklahoma Pork Council this week, part of a series the agency is conducting to drill the state’s pork industry in the event of a domestic African swine fever outbreak.
According to a release from USDA, this exercise is part of APHIS’s overall African swine fever preparedness effort, in cooperation with the World Animal Health Organization (OIE). APHIS staff, as well as representatives from 14 states and the swine industry, participated in the exercises. The exercises are designed to be unique activities targeting key areas of ASF response and mitigation.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays sat down with RoyLee Lindsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council, to discuss the organization’s participation in this week’s exercise, its role in mitigating a potential outbreak and the impact it would have on the pork industry if an outbreak did ever occur. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“The economic impacts would be astronomical. If you suddenly lose 27% of the demand for your product, what are we going to do with all that product? Where is it going to go in the market? The value of animals would be next to nothing. In addition to that, the emotional toll of it being on your farm and the dealing with the things you have to do to respond to that would be emotionally trying beyond words,” Lindsey remarked. “So, the impacts are not just economics but they’re emotional and I think long-term would cause tremendous disruption within the pork industry as a whole. A lot of that though depends on how quickly we can control the disease and how quickly we can get it eradicated and demonstrate that we are negative for the disease moving forward. That’s what these exercises are for.”
The exercise took place over the course of several days beginning September 23 and ending on the 26th. The exercise began with a mock foreign animal disease investigation and subsequent coordination and engagement of the National Veterinary Services Laboratory’s Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the appropriate laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. On the second day, participants responded to the previous day’s activities practicing how to support a state, regional, or national movement standstill depending upon swine populations infected. Implementing the planning and resource coordination associated with depopulating and disposing of infected and exposed swine was practiced on the third day. On the fourth and final day, participants implemented a system to allow continuity of business for non-infected operations within a Control Area.
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