US event cancelled over ASF fears

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages

Related tags ASF

The US National Pork Producers Council board of directors is canceling the World Pork Expo 2019 in an ‘abundance of caution’ regarding African Swine Fever (ASF).

The annual event, which was set to take place in Iowa in June, was halted Wednesday [April 10], a decision taken based on the continued spread of the disease in China and other parts of Asia, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said in a release regarding the move.

The World Pork Expo can attract up to 20,000 visitors and includes attendees and exhibitors from regions where ASF is present, the National Pork Producers Council said.

Although the disease only affects pigs and does not present a danger to human health or food safety, there is no vaccines for ASF.

“While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution,”​ said David Herring, NPPC president. “The health of the US swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defense against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the US.”

In addition to canceling the event, pork producers are asking the US Congress for funding to add 600 additional US border agricultural inspectors to support efforts to prevent the disease from entering the US.

US swine producers need to have the ability to export pork products, Herring said. An outbreak of ASF in the US would close export markets.

“The widespread presence of African swine fever in China's swine herd, the world's largest by far, takes the threat of this swine disease to an entirely new level,” ​he said. “We ask all producers, travelers and the general public to recognize the heightened risk since the first outbreak was reported in China last year and to heed biosecurity protocols in support of US agriculture.”

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