USDA Eases Restrictions on Manitoba Sow Exports Following Seneca Valley Virus Concerns

In a positive development for the Canadian swine industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently lifted a previously imposed order that mandated certification for Seneca Valley virus in sows from a Manitoba assembly yard before crossing the U.S. border.

The decision to require a veterinary export certificate for sow exports was initiated in September as a response to a surge in Seneca Valley virus cases detected at U.S. packing plants. This move raised concerns among Canadian swine health experts, who feared a potential expansion of the requirement to other yards, potentially leading to a halt in the export of Canadian sows. The certification process, known for its resource-intensive nature, added to the industry’s apprehensions.

While the Seneca Valley virus itself does not cause severe side effects, its symptoms bear a resemblance to foot-and-mouth disease. Animals exhibiting Seneca Valley symptoms prompted investigations in U.S. meat-packing plants, culminating in the implementation of the certification requirement.

Notably, in 2022, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service had imposed a temporary halt on shipments from multiple Manitoba assembly yards due to the presence of the virus. This recent decision to lift the certification requirement signifies a positive step forward, expected to streamline the export process for Canadian sows from Manitoba assembly yards.

The industry remains cautiously optimistic about continued cooperation between Canadian and U.S. authorities, emphasizing both the importance of maintaining high health and safety standards and facilitating the smooth flow of agricultural trade.