Jim Long Pork Commentary, Why is African Swine Fever a Reportable Disease?

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Jim Long, President and CEO Genesus Genetics

Over the last while there has been much discussion about African Swine Fever (ASF). Every meeting we attend or hear about is dominated by African Swine fever talk.

So why is it a reportable disease? We understand this has been put in place by OIE decades ago. It’s been in Africa for decades (probably how ASF got its name). It was in Spain and Portugal in the 1960’s-1970’s before it was eradicated.

This variation of ASF entered Europe in 1995 in the country of Georgia, and since that time it has spread into Russia, Eastern Europe and now China. No country has been able to eliminate the ASF since the Georgian break of 2005.

What we find interesting and we question; Why is ASF a reportable disease. ASF causes no risk to human health. It causes financial losses but so does prrs, ped, app etc.

The greatest financial risk of ASF is the closing of borders to trade due to it being a reportable disease. It has been estimated that in Canada that an ASF break would lead to financial losses in the pork sector of $30 billion. A huge amount that would lead to unparalleled amount of bankruptcies even with a massive budget busting government financial aid. We expect knowing U.S. export levels of 26-27% of all production a $30 billion loss would not be out of the question. ASF is a huge risk to Canada, USA, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands etc.

Borders closing for trade would be a disaster for all countries.

We have been doing business in Russia for a decade. We have observed ASF effects.

Our Observations:

Russia has about 1.8 million sows.

Over the last ten years we estimate 100 thousand sows have been destroyed with their followers in Russia due to ASF.

100 thousand sows x 20 hogs marketed per year is a loss of production of 2 million hogs.

(PED loss in North America was 8 million head?)

We estimate that PRRS cuts total production by 5% per year in Russia.

Farmer Arithmetic:

1.8 million sows x 20 hogs marketed a year= 36 million a year x ten years = 360 million hogs and at 5% mortality from PRRS = 18 million pigs lost to PRRS over the last ten years.

Farmer Arithmetic:

Russia- PRRS 18 million head lost, ASF 2 million over last ten years.

Certainly anyone could argue these numbers but we believe no doubt PRRS is worse than ASF for mortality.

So why is ASF a reportable disease? Borders close and its huge financial damage. There is no human health risk. Is this like assisted suicide?

Is this the time before ASF strikes Canada U.S.A., Spain, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, Netherlands etc. to push to take ASF off as a reportable disease?

EuroTier

As I write I am on a plane to Germany. It is November 11, 2018

100 years ago today World War 1 ended. It was to be the war to end all wars. Didn’t quite work out.

My Great Grandfather fought on the western front in World War 1. He was wounded, recovered and went back to fight in the trenches. Afterwards I understand he was never the same, became an alcoholic and died long before I was born.

I am thankful I will be in Germany in much better circumstances than 100 years ago.

Always the best to figure out how to get along.

At Euro tier there will be people from all over the world with the common purpose of producing poultry and livestock to feed our world. A noble cause that should be celebrated.

“The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power”
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