Ottawa has announced up to $31 million in funding to aid in the prevention of African swine fever (ASF) ending up in Canada. The funding will be used to add twenty-four detector dog teams over a span of five years at border and customs crossings. This will bring the total amount of detector dog teams to 39.
Although North America has never had a case of ASF, the disease continues to wreak havoc in Asia and parts of Europe. ASF poses no risk to human health, but it could disrupt Canada’s pork industry, which includes over 100,000 direct and indirect Canadian jobs, according to the government.
“I am committed to continuing Canada’s efforts to prevent the introduction of African swine fever into the country. By working collaboratively, producers, the Canadian public at large and the international community can help stop the spread of this deadly disease affecting swine populations and protect Canada’s fourth largest agricultural sector,” Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau says.
Even though it remains illegal to import meat and meat products from countries affected by ASF, it still remains a huge threat for introducing this animal disease to Canada.
Along with the funding announcement, ag minister Bibeau told reporters Canada will be hosting the first international ASF forum. The event will be held at Ottawa at the end of April and will include attendees from Mexico, the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).