African Swine Fever: Preparing an Integrated Emergency Response Plan for Canada
What’s the Story?
Should an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) occur in Canada, eradication of the virus is the primary objective regardless of the swine population impacted (commercial, smallholder, wildlife).
The CFIA, as the national veterinary service with legislated authority to respond to a foreign animal disease in Canada, will lead eradication activities. However, lessons learned from other countries impacted by ASF suggest successful eradication is only achievable through effective and proactive public private partnership (PPP) and close collaboration between all jurisdictions and stakeholders.
of pork processed in Canada is exported
Given that Canada currently exports over 70% of pork processed in Canada, a single case of ASF will have significant socio-economic impacts across the entire pork and broader agriculture sector. Pork producers and slaughter establishments will be forced to radically downsize and rapidly implement measures to humanely address surplus hogs. There will need to be considerations for the indirect impacts on the environment, public health impacts related to mental health and the sustainability of rural economies, as well as how actions taken could impact social license. The immediate closure of export markets for pork and live animals, an unknown demand response from Canadian consumers, and no ready means to determine market prices in the face of an extraordinary oversupply of pork will result in a market failure. Producers will face an immediate cash flow crisis.
In April 2021, ACER Consulting was hired by Animal Health Canada to draft an integrated ASF emergency response plan framework for Canada. The primary goal was to outline current plans for both the immediate disease eradication activities and the actions required to rapidly support the pork sector and ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry.
What is the impact of this work?
The Integrated Emergency Response Plan Framework for African swine fever (ASF IERPF) prepared by ACER Consulting, and released in March 2022, serves as a repository of current animal health and welfare infrastructure, available information, and resources necessary to prepare for and respond to an animal health emergency caused by ASF in Canada.
Once planning is sufficiently advanced, this framework will inform the future development of a functional ASF-specific integrated emergency response plan (ERP) for Canada which considers activities related to both disease response and the management of surplus hogs once planning is sufficiently advanced. This framework directly supports the Canadian pork sector in:
- The effective and efficient eradication of ASF in all swine populations in Canada;
- A coordinated response to the humane and environmentally sound management of both infected and surplus hogs;
- A coordinated response to rapidly contract and rebalance domestic pig supplies within the domestic and very limited export demand market for Canadian pork;
- Protection of the mental and physical health of producers and farm families, first responders, and supply chain partners; and
- Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the pork industry in Canada including maintaining the hog production and slaughter infrastructure and necessary human resources to re-enter the global market.
An accompanying Gaps Report was also developed to highlight critical gaps that currently inhibit the development of a functional and operationalizable IERP. This document is available through the Animal Health Canada ASF Executive Management portal online.
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