International forum tackles prevention and control of African swine fever in the Americas


May 1, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for Canada, Dr. Jaspinder Komal, accompanied by Dr. Jack Shere, Chief Veterinary Officer for the United States and by Dr. Juan Gay Gutierrez, Chief Veterinary Officer for Mexico issued the following statement about the African swine fever (ASF) forum.

"I am proud to be here with my North American colleagues to conclude the ASF Forum.

Over the course of the last two days, we have worked with colleagues from around the globe at the Forum to address the risk of ASF, a serious animal disease currently impacting swine herds in Europe and Asia.

I would like to thank the over 150 leaders and decision makers from government and industry from 15 countries who shared their expertise, engaged in productive discussions, and contributed to developing strategies to address ASF.

Jointly, we have developed a framework that will support ongoing international collaboration and action in the areas of preparedness planning, enhanced biosecurity, business continuity, and coordinated risk communications.

This framework lays the foundation for:

  • A high state of readiness to swiftly control ASF should it enter the Americas region
  • Strengthening biosecurity measures to prevent the entry of ASF and mitigate its spread
  • Establishing agreements in the swine sector to mitigate the trade impacts of ASF
  • Effective communications to best inform Canadians and our neighbouring countries about the risk of ASF

Through our dialogue over the past two days, we have also identified several key partnerships and governance options to advance the implementation of the jointly developed framework at the regional, or the Americas level, as well as at the sub-regional and national levels.

The collaboration over the last few days at the ASF Forum will aid us in safeguarding the Canadian pork industry, which contributes to more than 100,000 jobs that, in turn, generate close to $24 billion when farms, inputs, processing and pork exports are included. Canada is the third-largest pork exporting country in both value and volume and represents about 20% of world pork trade. In 2017, 1.2 million tonnes of Canadian pork valued at $4 billion were exported to over 100 countries.

The Forum is not the end of our work together, as we have found areas where more exploration is needed. But our discussions have set us up to take this important work further. Over the next day, conversations continue at the Executive Board meeting of the World Organization of Animal Health's (OIE) Regional Commission of the Americas which will also be held here in Ottawa.

Additionally, the developed framework will add to the discussions about the advancement of a global strategy on ASF happening in May at the 87th OIE General Session and with the Chief Veterinary Officers of the G7.

Given that the Americas are currently free of ASF, we have an opportunity now to continue to act decisively and collaboratively to increase awareness around ASF, fill in gaps that have been identified, and proactively negotiate partnerships and agreements to aid in our approach to the disease.

We are pleased with what we have accomplished together during the ASF Forum and look forward to our continued collaboration with both domestic and international representatives in industry and all levels of government to manage the potential impacts of ASF in the Americas."

Dr. Jaspinder Komal
Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
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