QUADS Chief Veterinary Officers meet to discuss opportunities to work together to mitigate risks to animal health


April 11, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Dr. Jaspinder Komal, recently completed meetings with the CVOs from the United States, New Zealand and Australia ("The QUADS") on various animal health issues, including the ongoing global outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).

African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs. It causes high death rates in infected pigs and can infect swine herds in various ways. Although ASF poses no risk to human health, it would have a major impact on Canada's pig population. There is no treatment or vaccine for African swine fever.

During the three day meeting, which was held in Akaroa, New Zealand, each country provided a detailed report on their activities to prevent the entry of ASF, and identified opportunities to work together to mitigate the risk. The four countries also discussed the implementation of the QUADS zoning arrangement. Zoning is an important concept to ensure  business continuity during a foreign animal disease outbreak and will allow Canada to continue exporting animals and animal products from parts of the country that are not affected by a disease while only restricting trade from areas where cases are known to be present.

An "in country evaluation" of the capacity and processes to implement effecting zoning in Canada and the US by Australia and New Zealand is scheduled for later this year. Following that, Canada and the US will do a similar evaluation in New Zealand and Australia. Canada and the US have already signed an agreement to recognize their respective zoning plans in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak, such as ASF.

Dr. Komal met one-on-one with the CVO of the United States, Dr. Jack Shere, to discuss the upcoming ASF Forum, which will take place in Ottawa from April 30-May 1, 2019. The Forum is being co-chaired by Canada and the US with the objective of enhancing collaboration on ASF in the Americas and developing a roadmap to prevent and respond to the threat of ASF globally. Australia and New Zealand will be sending representatives to the forum, along with representatives from more than 20 countries. For more information visit the webpage on the African swine fever forum.

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