USDA Launches ‘Protect Our Pigs’ Campaign to Support the Pork Industry, Pig Owners, Veterinarians in the Fight Against African Swine Fever
Campaign to Alert, Educate, and Help Prevent Introduction, Potential Spread of Deadly Swine Disease
Source: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
via Business Wire - June 15, 2022
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today new efforts to help prevent the introduction and spread of African swine fever in the U.S. Through an outreach and awareness campaign called “Protect Our Pigs,” APHIS will support commercial pork producers, veterinarians, and pig owners with information and resources to help safeguard America’s swine population and the pork industry.
African swine fever is a deadly, highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic and wild pigs. It does not impact human health but quickly spreads between swine populations. People can also unknowingly spread the disease on their clothing, farming equipment, or by transporting uncooked pork products. African swine fever has never been detected in the U.S., but has recently been confirmed in countries as close as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. There is no treatment or effective vaccine for the disease.
“African swine fever is already devastating pork industries and economies around the globe, and if detected in the U.S., it could ravage our swine population, nation’s pork industry, and farming communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt.
The U.S. is one of the world's largest pork producers and the second largest exporter of pork globally. If the disease arrives here, it is estimated it could cost the U.S. $50 billion dollars over 10 years.
Commercial pork producers, veterinarians, and pig owners are among the nation’s first line of defense against African swine fever. There are more than 60,000 pork producers nationwide who employ more than half a million workers. An estimated 250,000 to 1 million potbellied pigs are kept as pets, and there are more than 1,500 swine veterinarians.
APHIS is deploying a variety of outreach efforts to support these critical stakeholders. The new Protect Our Pigs website, aphis.usda.gov/ProtectOurPigs, will house materials such as downloadable fact sheets and posters, instructional videos, shareable social media graphics, a new interactive biosecurity guide, and offer the latest disease updates. If African swine fever is detected in the U.S., APHIS will also be ready to respond immediately with actionable information and resources for pig owners and the public.
As part of these outreach efforts, on June 29 at 3 p.m. EDT, APHIS will host African Swine Fever: What You Need to Know, which will feature a panel of experts representing the pork industry, pig owners and veterinarians who will discuss the latest on the disease, protective actions and respond to questions. To learn more and register for the event, go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/5417174611628019?ref=newsfeed.
“USDA is working every day to stop this disease from breaching our borders and the Protect Our Pigs campaign is just one of many ways we are doing that. We are also meeting with pork producers to find out how we can best support their ongoing work in this area, increasing swine testing and conducting innovative vaccine research,” said Dr. Jack Shere, Associate Administrator at APHIS and former Chief Veterinary Officer. “Together, we can fight this disease and protect the U.S. pig population, people’s livelihoods and way of life.”
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
If a Foreign Disease Happened Here
By JoAnn Alumbaugh, FarmJournal's Pork
June 13, 2022
No one wants it to happen, but the possibility of a foreign animal disease (FAD) like African swine fever (AFS) or Classical swine fever (CSF) entering the U.S. is a lingering threat. Industry leaders are taking that threat seriously. Collaborative efforts are ongoing to develop protocols and procedures that producers can follow should a worse-case scenario occur.
At an educational session during the 2022 World Pork Expo, Pam Zaabel, DVM, director of Swine Health at the National Pork Board, and Tyler Holck, DVM, senior program coordinator of the U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan, spoke about ongoing efforts to protect the U.S. swine herd.
“U.S. producers are concerned about ASF’s impact,” Holck said. They’re confused by all the acronyms representing different agencies and programs and they’re curious about how all the entities are connected.
The session was a chance for producers to learn about industry collaboration and coordination for FAD.
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