Greater investment in transport training and technology is helping limit the risk of disease spreading between Canada’s pig farms, according to an expert in livestock transportation.
Bill Rempel of Steve’s Livestock Transport said growing biosecurity risks during transport meant that procedures in the industry had to change to try to protect herd health and ensure pig farms could remain sustainable, reports .
While producers could make investments which improved on-farm health and welfare, it was up to the transport industry to ensure it played its part in limiting risk, Rempel said.
“If there’s a transfer of a disease through the transportation through a biosecurity breach, the farms are so big the financial impact is big,” he told the Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium.
“Over the years the farms have changed from smaller farms to fewer [bigger farms] so when an outbreak does happen the impact is that much greater.
“So the procedures have [had to change], the technology has changed and also the people and the training aspect [has changed]. The biggest thing is the training.”
Rempel’s comments came as the Canadian Pork Council called for ‘extreme diligence’ from pig transporters to limit the risk of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) spreading between farms.
Dr. Egan Brockhoff, the council’s Veterinary Counsel, told The Pig Site that the onset of colder weather was likely to increase the onset of PED, and that transporters were the likeliest source of the disease.
“Typically a transport will contaminate a site and then either a foot or something picked up off the ground will drag it into the barn,” Brockhoff said.
“Unfortunately we have PED-positive assembly yards in Manitoba and those create an ongoing source of infection.
“[Therefore] producers have to be extremely diligent, transporters have to be diligent and pork industry providers have to be very diligent in ensuring they don’t bring the virus in with them to the farms.”
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