The impending threat of African Swine Fever has been weighing heavy on the the minds of many. Perhaps none heavier than the National Pork Producers Council. NPPC’s board of directors announced their decision to cancel the 2019 World Pork Expo April 10.
NPPC made the difficult decision to cancel the 2019 World Pork Expo due to the potential threat of ASF.
“The fact that African swine fever is present in China’s herd just raises the risk globally for spread and one of our biggest priorities right now is to keep it out of the United States,” said Jim Monroe, senior communications director at National Pork Producers Council. “So, while we think the risk of it spreading because of World Pork Expo is very, very remote, we still decided to exercise extreme caution and make this decision.”
The risk may be low but it is not zero. Therefore, NPPC is exercising extreme caution. Guests from all regions typically attend World Pork Expo. This includes ASF positive regions.
“Prevention is our only defense against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a producer from Lillington, North Carolina.
Though it came with extreme caution, it was also not an easy decision. More than 100 U.S. pork producers gathered in Washington D.C. to meet with their members of Congress during NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference.
In another effort to protect the U.S. from ASF and other diseases, pork producers are asking Congress to appropriate funding for 600 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors.
The swine industry is extremely export dependent. If an ASF outbreak were to occur, our export markets would immediately close. This would be devastating to the swine industry, especially given the current trade circumstances.
Herring called for producers, travelers and even the general public to practice extreme caution. The risk for ASF increased following China’s outbreak last year. It is crucial for all parties to understand the risk and proceed accordingly. Proper biosecurity protocols are set in place and it is imperative they are followed.
This isn’t the first time World Pork Expo has been cancelled to protect our domestic swine herd health. The last cancellation occurred in 2001 when Foot and Mouth Disease was detected in Europe.
Although the event has been held since 1987, NPPC has always taken proper procedures to protect the health of the U.S. swine herd.
Some Solace Left
World Pork Expo has two main components. The first is the trade show and exhibitions. However, the second is a swine show. Although World Pork Expo has been cancelled, there will still be a live hog show in place of this event.
Despite the cancellation of World Pork Expo, the National Swine Registry, Certified Pedigreed Swine and the American Berkshire Association will hold a live hog show. The hog show will take on a new name, The Exposition. It will be held in Iowa June 2-8.
The show is allowed to continue because ASF has not yet been found in the U.S. However, if the disease enters the U.S., live hog shows will be cancelled.
With the impending threat of ASF breaking through our border, NPPC made the decision to cancel World Pork Expo. This decision was not taken lightly and was a measure of extreme caution. Though the threat was small, NPPC is attempting to remove all possible threats of the devastating disease.