Deadly pig virus could cost industry millions

A deadly pig virus that has infected at least two Ontario farms could cost the Canadian pork industry tens of millions of dollars if it spreads across provincial borders, a group representing Ontario’s hog farmers warned Monday.

TORONTO — A deadly pig virus that has infected at least two Ontario farms could cost the Canadian pork industry tens of millions of dollars if it spreads across provincial borders, a group representing Ontario’s hog farmers warned Monday.

Officials announced a second case of porcine epidemic diarrhea was confirmed this weekend in a farm in Chatham-Kent, as well as a possible third case in the same region.

The first case, a farrow-to-finish farm in southwestern Ontario, was found last week — a discovery that heightened concern among the country’s hog producers.

“We do anticipate that this will be tough on our industry. It’s all going to depend on where it goes from here,” said Amy Cronin of Ontario Pork.

“We are putting into place measures to try to manage the virus as best we can and keep it off as many farms as we can given that it is very contagious,” she said.

“We estimate that if it were to spread past Ontario throughout Canada, within one year, it could cost $45 million to the Canadian pork industry.”

Porcine epidemic diarrhea is usually fatal in young pigs but older animals can recover. Producers have long worried that PED might make its way up from the U.S., where it has killed millions of piglets.

Ontario’s chief veterinarian said hundreds of piglets — nearly 100 per cent of those between two and five days old — have died so far at the first farm, located near London, Ont.

The other two hold older pigs and have not seen “significant mortality,” Greg Douglas said.

Officials said the virus does not affect food safety and is not a risk to human health.

It’s unclear where the virus came from but Douglas said there appears to be an “indirect link” between the affected farms.

“We still are under the impression that there are strategies which we can work on to help mitigate, slow the spread of this virus in Ontario,” he said in a news conference.

“However, the confirmed case, second case and the third under suspicion certainly does change the situation — the reality — here in Ontario.”

So far, the province has stopped short of imposing a quarantine, saying farmers are co-operating and neither pigs nor animal products are leaving the infected farms.

And there is no plan to halt the transport of pork between Canada and the U.S., said Harpreet Kochhar, Canada’s chief veterinary officer.

He said border officials are “very vigilant” and require certification proving the animals are healthy. Pigs not destined for slaughter or breeding must be quarantined, he said.

What’s more, Canada ships more pigs south than it takes in, he said, suggesting it would not be in the country’s interest to shut down pork trade.

Ontario Pork has warned PED spreads through contact with manure. It recommends strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols to prevent the pathogen from being transferred from trucks, trailers and clothing.

Producers should also contact their vets at the first signs of diarrhea or vomiting in their herds, the organization said.

PED is not a federally reportable disease in Canada, which means there is no single set of protocols to help prevent it from spreading here or to deal with an outbreak.

Instead, provinces and the industry are sharing information and developing plans to contain the disease.

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

Get your guilty pleasures: Westerner Days food

Traditional sugary treats were served up by the plate, bowl and bucket… Continue reading

Centrefest brings feats of daring to Red Deer’s downtown

Fundraising was a tough slog, but it came together in the end

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Redoing hip surgeries are costly, says new study

Redoing hip and knee replacements costs Canada’s health system $130 million a… Continue reading

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Jones’ punt return TD rallies Riders to road victory over Ticats

Roughriders 31 Tiger-Cats 20 HAMILTON — Brandon Bridge kept Dave Watford on… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer’s Iron Buffalo rocks Westerner Days

Iron Buffalo opened for Helix and Lee Aaron Thursday at the ENMAX Centrium

Zuckerberg’s Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

NEW YORK — Denying the Holocaust happened is probably OK on Facebook.… Continue reading

Brazilian police arrest ‘Dr. Bumbum’ after patient dies

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police have arrested celebrated plastic surgeon Denis… Continue reading

Canadian marijuana company Tilray has first US pot IPO

SEATTLE — A Canadian company is the first marijuana business to complete… Continue reading

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem… Continue reading

Soy “milk” makers may need to find alternative description

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as “milk”… Continue reading

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death granted day parole

CALGARY — A woman whose son died after she failed to take… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month