Biosecurity plan for B.C. livestock

A $613,050 investment by the governments of British Columbia and Canada is resulting in increased surveillance and preventative measures to stop livestock diseases from spreading to B.C., federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced today.

The funding provided to the BC Pork Producers Association results in immediate action to reduce the risk of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) arriving in B.C., and prepare measures to rapidly respond and contain the disease if it should ever enter the province.

The immediate action includes:

• Implementing enhanced biosecurity efforts at the two facilities that handle pigs from within and from outside B.C., including livestock transport trucks and driver-sanitation measures.

• Two pork processing facilities and 21 pork-producing farms will be supported in developing response and containment plans to ensure rapid action should PED be found. In addition, enhanced auditing and application of national standards for on-farm biosecurity will be supported.

• The industry will cost-share any activities that include the purchase of equipment and/or costs for infrastructure associated with enhancing biosecurity.

PED is an extremely infectious and economically devastating pig disease that is new to Canada. The disease can be transmitted through animal feces among vehicles or equipment, and though harmless to people, results in a very high mortality in young piglets. To date, PED has not been found in B.C.

The centre receives more than 5,000 animal samples of all varieties for diagnosis annually and is one of only three Canadian labs accredited as a veterinary diagnostic laboratory by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

Last month the Province passed a new Animal Health Act, updating nearly 70-year-old legislation, aimed at limiting the spread of current and emerging diseases like PED, and better responding to potentially disastrous outbreaks.  The funding announced today is from the five-year Growing Forward 2 agreement, a $3-billion federal-provincial-territorial government investment in innovation, competitiveness and market development.

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