The motto that Alberta Pork has adopted as it continues to work with producers across the province to keep a vigilent eye on their bio-security protocols to try to stop PEDv from coming to Alberta, is spot-it, Screen it and Stop-It.
Alberta Pork Executive Director Darcy Fitzgerald tells Rural Roots Canada it goes far beyond the motto for producers by working with everyone in the industry including the trucking industry.
“That stopping part really isn’t us just discovering it, but it’s back a step or two with to the point of not even allowing it to gain a foot hold here in Alberta through keeping trucks well washed and dry and heated as best we can. I know that is difficult in this winter climate,” said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald says it’s a fine line to walk because of the recent emphasis on truckers to be environmentally friendly.
“There are truck washers that use recirculated water. You could come in with a clean truck and come out with a dirty one, something we’re reconsidering at this point is do we need to conserve energy and water at the same time because we are setting ourselves up for recontamination of vehicles. We need to be careful on that.”
However, Fitzgerald says bio-security doesn’t stop at the truckers who haul pigs on to and off of the farms.
“The other side when that truck arrives at that farm that the truck has been cleaned got that insurance and then that truck driver has been somewhere else you want to make sure you keep those bio-security protocols in check and that doesn’t just go for pigs going to manure, and that goes like-wise for feed trucks, service vehicles all those types of things that might come to the farm.”
Fitzgerald says producers in Alberta and Canada, for that matter, have a lot of things going for them that they don’t in the United States, where their pig herds have been ravaged over the last 8 to 9 months.
Our (Alberta) Chief Veterinarian has been working with our staff continuously and I think we got some good traction over the last 2 years of work to make sure we have everything in place. Another one that is of benefit we have is the natural condition of where we live, separation of farm. Some of our industry management style is different. We aren’t as integrated as it is in the States where multiple visits can happen barn to barn, where-as we don’t really have that here. That helps us out a lot. I think we are in good condition in good shape to hold off PEDv if we hold to our vigilance make sure we keep things clean for sure.”
He adds there has really been an initiative by the entire Canadian industry to make sure everyone is on the same page.
“We actually been working now on this with Growing Forward, Alberta Agriculture and with the Canadian Health Swine Board, to put in bio-security protocols. So we’ve had workshops we’ve had meeting we had vets go on to farms, We have some of the best vets here in Alberta going out and working with their producers, making sure bio-security is in place a plan.”