Representatives from 15 countries have gathered in Ottawa to try and come up with a global plan to contain the deadly hog virus that has killed millions of pigs worldwide.
Rick Bergman, chair of the Canadian Pork Council, said: “Call us a team, call us an army, but we’re all working on a very focused goal. We have much to gain and also, potentially, much to lose.”
No cases of African Swine Fever have been reported in North America, but the disease is spreading rapidly around the world, with cases reported in regions including Mongolia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Cambodia and parts of Europe.
Chinese officials have said the outbreak in that country alone has reportedly affected more than 100 operations and led to the culling of at least one million hogs since it was first discovered in February 2018.
Dr Etienne BonBon, a senior veterinarian advisor with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said “immediate” action is needed to contain and spread the current outbreak, adding the virus – which threatens the world’s pork supply – continues to spread.
“Pork is the most consumed meat from domestic animals in the world, with increased demand, and pigs have become a crucial food source,” Dr BonBon said.
“The recent escalating of African Swine Fever has placed the majority of the world’s swine population under direct threats.”