I was contacted a while ago by someone from the NCFAD, which if you are like me, you can be forgiven for not having a hot clue what that is. So I asked, and was told that The National Center for Foreign Animal Disease is part of CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and is located in the Canadian Science Center for Human and Animal Health which also houses the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, MB. That should be enough governmental alphabet soup to make anyone turn and run the other way, but I decided that I would at least hear them out on what they required from me.
It turns out that they were going to be assisting with the development and testing of a vaccine for pigs, I can’t tell you what disease they were specifically working on, but you can likely fill in the blanks yourself. The trial for this vaccine required them to house some pigs in the same room but not be able to have contact with each other. Shared air space was allowed as this disease is not airborne. Still, to determine if the vaccine was effective, they would need to infect all the pigs in one room and then treat random ones within that same room while also ensuring that the treated and untreated animals did not have direct contact with the other pigs or their “waste”.
Once all the requirements for this project were reviewed, including the fact that the system I designed needed to be able to be moved in and out of these rooms without equipment as this would be installed several floors up in a room with just a 3’ door, I got to work putting together a proposal. With the equipment available to us it was reasonably simple to come up with a plan for a raised plastic floor with pens closed in using PanelTIM planking; adding a couple of simple water and feed options finished it off and I submitted my proposal.
Like all things government-related, it did take some time, but they accepted my proposal, and the project is moving forward. Due to the extreme bio-security required at this facility, I could not send any of my people to deliver or assemble this, so the ease of use was key to what we presented. Anyone with basic knowledge of a tape measure, drill, wrench, and hammer would be able to put this together.
Although this was nowhere close to being the largest project I ever provided, it does rank up there as one of the more interesting. And although I may never be informed of the results that come from this trial, perhaps one day I can take pride in the fact that my small contribution helped give us a vaccine that prevented the decimation of the North American pork industry.