Swine Biosecurity

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Canada is one of the world's largest exporters of pork and pork products. Biosecurity is becoming increasingly important to the Canadian hog sector.

Swine diseases

The global emergence and re-emergence of swine diseases in recent years has had a major impact on the pork industry, both within Canada and abroad. Outbreaks of contagious diseases such as Classical Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease in pigs have resulted in significant economic losses for pork industries, as well as animal health and environmental concerns. These incidents emphasize the need for a comprehensive, coordinated approach to swine biosecurity.

Led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), federal, provincial and territorial governments are continuously collaborating with industry and the public to implement and augment swine biosecurity programs aimed at reducing disease transmission and protecting the interests of Canadians.

Sources of swine diseases

Swine diseases can be spread in a number of ways, including:

  • through diseased swine or healthy swine incubating disease;
  • through animals other than swine (farm animals, pets, wild birds and other wildlife, vermin and insects);
  • on the clothing and shoes of visitors and employees moving from farm-to-farm;
  • in contaminated feed, water, bedding and soil;
  • from the carcasses of dead animals;
  • on contaminated farm equipment and vehicles; or
  • in airborne particles and dust blown by the wind.

Biosecurity principles for swine

Some of the basic biosecurity principles for the hog sector include:

  • Isolation:
    • Only obtain new animals from reputable sources.
    • Isolate sick pigs from the rest of the herd.
    • Limit the frequency of introducing new pigs to the herd.
    • House newborn, weaned, feeder, and breeding pigs separately.
    • Move pigs in groups during each production stage, in an all-in-all-out manner.
  • Sanitation:
    • Routinely clean and disinfect buildings, barns, equipment, clothing and footwear.
    • Designate a cleaning area for vehicles and equipment.
    • Promptly dispose of dead pigs.
    • Implement a manure management program.
    • Avoid borrowing equipment and vehicles from other farms.
  • Traffic control:
    • Control visitors' access to the herd.
    • Require all visitors to wear clean boots, clothing and gloves.
    • Prevent birds, rodents, pets and other animals from coming into contact with the herd.
    • Maintain records of the movement of people, animals and equipment on and off the premises.
    • Make sure all suppliers and other farm visitors follow your biosecurity measures.
  • Herd health management:
    • Monitor herd health daily.
    • Uniquely identify all animals for traceability.
    • Employ veterinary services to help implement herd health programs.
    • Vaccinate pigs against certain diseases.
    • Immediately report any signs of illness to your veterinarian or the nearest CFIA office.
  • Program maintenance:
    • Train all staff in the application of your biosecurity program.
    • Regularly monitor the effectiveness of the program.
    • Be aware of any diseases in your area and adjust your biosecurity program to meet specific needs, as required.
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