Ag News

Swine Industry Studies Coronavirus Response Efforts

IABRN — COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, remains top-of-mind for concerned citizens and livestock specialists. Perhaps we can all learn something from this difficult situation.

Dr. Dave Pyburn, senior vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board, says the swine industry is monitoring the coronavirus pandemic, as it considers its response to foreign animal diseases such as African Swine Fever (ASF).

“We weren’t ready for this type of human pandemic, and I think that’s it’s on a much larger scale,” Dr. Pyburn said. “It’s the kind of unreadiness and decisions that have to be made in the spur of the moment that we’ll have to make when a foreign animal disease (is) in our animals. I think we can learn from this.”

Dr. Pyburn says it’s clear the swine industry will need “clear plans, decision makers, as well as stockpiles of supplies.” It may be hard to find a silverlining, especially when it comes to coronavirus. Dr. Pyburn, however, says international travel restrictions are a silver lining for United States pork producers.

“For the most part, international air travel has been stopped for a period of time. When you look at the risk to our industry from African Swine Fever, the number one risk is contaminated people coming through. Even more so is people bringing (in) contaminated meat products from international travels and smuggling it into the country. With very little international air traffic travel, those risks are much less for our industry, as far as African Swine Fever,” Dr. Pyburn said.

This article originally appeared on the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

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