Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will be working today on a plan to contain a fatal pig virus that kills piglets but is rarely dangerous to humans.
Wynne, who is also the province’s agricultural minister, is working with federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to stop the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.
PED virus first found in Canada last week on a farm near London, Ontario. Though not dangerous to humans, the virus is almost always fatal in young pigs.
With four Ontario cases confirmed so far, the easily-transmitted virus is expected to spread.
The attempt to contain the virus
Ontario has already pledged $2 million to improve biosecurity measures across the province. The federal and provincial governments are also offering funding to individual farms through a joint program.
“This investment speaks to the provincial government’s ongoing commitment to our industry,” said Amy Cronin, chair of Ontario Pork.
“These funds and the creation of a dedicated biosecurity stream under Growing Forward 2 will most certainly help our sector with some of the initiatives we’ve already started to help manage this disease.”
Potential effects on the pork industry
Widespread infection could cost the pork industry millions. Though numbers are not yet available, the high mortality rate could affect the pork industry, and in turn pork prices for consumers.
Canadian pork production generates revenues of over $3 billion dollars, according to Canadian Pork International.
PED in North America
PED is endemic in Asia and Europe, but only arrived in North America in 2013. It was first confirmed last May in Iowa, and has now spread to over 20 states. The virus is particularly dangerous to North American pigs as they have no previous exposure or immunity.