Last week the federal government announced new funding of up to $31 million to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports to help prevent illegally imported meat products from entering into Canada, thereby reducing the risk of African swine fever coming into the country.

The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) was pleased to hear that the capacity to detect meat in Canadian ports of entry will significantly increase with this funding.

“On behalf of Canadian pork producers, the CPC had requested that the presence of dogs who could detect the presence of meat in passengers' luggage be increased in international airports,” explained Rick Bergmann, CPC Chair. “We are thankful for the great collaboration of Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale and the increased measures that will prevent potentially contaminated meat from making its way to our communities and our farms. This will help the entire livestock industry."

In a news release, CPC noted that humans are most likely to be the ones to bring in the African swine fever virus into Canada, either by bringing in contaminated meat, or by travelling with the virus on their clothes, footwear and personal items. Although the virus does not infect humans, the group adds it is very deadly for the pigs who come into contact with it. The introduction of African swine fever into Canada would put over 100,000 jobs in jeopardy and cost the Canadian economy $24 billion dollars.

“Pork producers are thankful for all the support they have received and are doing their part to prevent the virus from compromising the health status of their herd, increasing their biosecurity and taking preventive measures,” said Bergmann. “We appreciate all the efforts put forth to prevent African swine fever from making its way to Canada,” he adds.

Canada will be hosting the first-ever international forum on ASF April 30 to May 1 in Ottawa. About 150 people from around the world are expected to attend, including representatives from China.

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