|UFCW Canada Special Assistants to the National President Mark Hennessy (on left) and Derek Johnstone (on right) meet with NDP Agri-Food Critic Alistair MacGregor (center)|
|UFCW Canada Special Assistants to the National President Derek Johnstone (on left) and Mark Hennessy (on right) meet with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay (center)|
Toronto – March 1, 2019 – UFCW Canada is leading the way on Parliament Hill to call for action to protect Canada’s pork sector against African Swine Fever (ASF) – a serious viral disease found in pigs that could potentially cause devastating impacts to the Canadian pork sector.
To date, there have been no reported cases of the ASF in Canada. However, due to the highly contagious nature of the disease, UFCW is urging Canadians and travellers to fully refrain from bringing any pork items into Canada, as ASF can spread rapidly through direct and indirect contact with infected pigs or pork products.
“There are over 10,000 hard-working UFCW Canada members in the pork sector, producing millions of pounds of pork products every week. An outbreak of this disease would have a devastating impact on many good, union jobs, as well as the entire agri-food industry, and its tremendous contributions to the national economy. Some estimates peg the potential impact of an outbreak at more than $28 billion,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema.
UFCW activists recently discussed the matter with the NDP Critic for Agriculture and Agri-food, Alistair MacGregor, and also expressed their concerns to Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, who assured the UFCW that the Government of Canada is taking the matter very seriously.
UFCW is calling on the federal government to work with provincial counterparts and the CFIA to ensure the necessary procedures and resources are in place to fully protect the pork sector, and to develop a rapid response strategy in the event that ASF reaches Canada.
A potential outbreak of African Swine Fever could be devastating to Canadian farms. Since the first case in China was discovered in August 2018, the disease has spread rapidly and has affected more than 900,000 pigs. Estimates say that the country’s pig herd could fall by 20% due to the disease, devastating the Chinese pork sector.
African Swine Fever Facts
- African Swine Fever is a serious viral disease that can cause fever, internal bleeding and high death rates for pigs. It is highly contagious and can spread rapidly through both direct and indirect contact with infected pigs or pork products.
- There currently is no treatment or vaccination for African Swine Fever.
- There have been no reported cases of African Swine Fever in Canada or in Canadian pork products.
- African Swine Fever is not a risk to human health.
- African Swine Fever originates from several African countries. Since 2007, the disease has spread across several countries in central Asia, including China, as well as several European countries. Please do not import pork products into Canada from foreign countries.
- If you have visited a country infected with African Swine Fever, it is important to wash or dispose of all clothing and footwear worn while travelling to a country that is infected with African Swine Fever prior to re-entering Canada.
For more information on the disease, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Fact Sheet on African Swine Fever, here.