Roy Lee Lindsey on How to Protect Your Herd from African Swine FeverMon, 13 Jan 2020 09:39:43 CST
Radio Oklahoma Farm Director Ron Hays had the opportunity to sit down with the Executive Director of OK Pork, Roy Lee Lindsey, to get an update regarding where we stand on keeping African swine fever out of the United States successfully.
Lindsey says, “Well, again, as we begin any conversation about African swine fever, we start with the notion that this is a disease that only affects Swine. It does not impact human health. Pork is safe to eat, prepare it properly, it's safe to eat. Again no impact on human health, from African swine fever, so just always start with that notion to remind folks. But in terms of the disease itself the mortality rate amongst pigs that get it is 95%, we've talked about that previously. So, if you get it, you're basically going to figure that every pig in your herds gonna die. There's no vaccine. While we're researching vaccines and, you know, I think making progress on vaccines, were still 10 to 20 years from having a commercially viable vaccine. That's a long time in terms of how diseases spread, etc. So really the only thing we can do is to try to keep the virus out of the U.S. hog herd. We're very diligent, very stringent, very adamant about how we do that. I Saw a story just this week about one of the Beagle brigades, one of the dog teams at an airport, identifying meat that was being brought into the country illegally. You know it's illegal to bring meat from other countries into the United States through the airport. Can't bring it into the airport, can't bring into your cruise ship, can't carry across the border. You know, if you've been over to visit Mexico or whatever you can't just pack a sausage and bring it home.
And again, all of that is to protect herd health. We know one of the ways this disease has spread through China is taking meat from animals that were infected and feeding that meat to other animals because Swine can get the virus. The virus can live in the meat product you feed to your pigs out back, then you've infected your pigs out back. So we know that's one of the ways the diseases continue to spread through China. So very, very adamant. We're very excited that Congress approved additional funding this fall for 600 new inspectors, and customs, and Border Protection Ag inspectors to watch folks as they come in and out of the country. To do investigations as you've come through. We would encourage anybody that's traveling, if you're traveling abroad, whether you're a hog farmer, cattle farmer, sheep farmer, doesn't make any difference. If you're traveling abroad, and you visit farms, or you're around livestock anywhere during your trip. When you come back to the country customs is going to ask you, have you been around livestock? Have you been on a farm? Please answer that question, yes. And then answer their questions fully. This is not about interrogating you. This is about protecting the health of our livestock, our swineherd, or cattle, or sheep are protecting our plants as well, because they have diseases in other parts of the world we don't have, and nobody wants to be responsible for bringing that in.
If you travel abroad and customs doesn't ask you, have you been on a farm? Or you tell them, yes, I've been on a farm, and you don't get additional screening, let us know so that we can share that back with CBP, and they'll go back and investigate and work with those inspectors to make sure we are doing a good job of screening. Then we encourage all of our producers whatever livestock you're raising, to think about the biosecurity on your farm, and what are you doing on your farm to keep disease out? For us that's shower in and shower out, it's limiting access to facilities for folks that don't work there every day. We're not doing that to hide things from you. We're doing it to protect the health of the animals that are in our care. And we should be doing that regardless of what animals you're raising. We all have a commitment to take care of our animals, to protect their health, to protect their well-being, and biosecurity is one way we do that. I encourage everybody to think about how do they do that? If you buy a new animal, how do you introduce that to your herd? Do you quarantine it for a period of time to make sure you're not bringing a new disease in? You should, that's certainly what a veterinarian would tell you. Do you have a good relationship with your veterinarian? Are they visiting your farm regularly looking at your animals, doing a visual inspection checking for signs of illness, signs of disease?
Then lastly, if you see anything out of the ordinary on your farm in terms of health, an increase in mortality, an increase in lameness, an increase in illness, something that's just not normal. Call your veterinarian immediately and get somebody out there to figure out what's going on, because that prompt response is what will allow us to catch a disease maybe early, maybe limit the spread of disease. All of that's part of the response plan and what we need to do, not just as swine producers but as livestock producers and agriculturalists all across the country to help protect all of our animals from diseases that we just don't typically have here in the United States."
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