USDA Announces Plan for African Swine Fever
Greg Ibach, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs announced at the National Pork Industry Forum, an action plan to address African Swine Fever (ASF) if detected in the United States. ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting feral and domestic swine. Along with USDA, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has previously shared concerns about ASF.
“First and foremost, USDA is committed to doing all it can to prevent ASF from entering the U.S. and we greatly appreciate the pork industry’s vigilance and partnership in this successful effort thus far,” Ibach stated at the Forum. “However, the additional measures I am announcing today will strengthen our ability to quickly and effectively respond to the disease if detected here at home.”
If ASF is detected in the United States, the following measures would be enacted to ensure safety:
- The Secretary would immediately take necessary steps to declare an “extraordinary emergency” establishing USDA as the leader of a coordinated national approach to control and eradication and ensuring the availability of funding and additional resources necessary for the response.
- USDA would issue a national standstill of at least 72 hours to prohibit all movement of swine, increasing USDA’s ability to stop disease spread and to act quickly to restore movement on a regionalized basis.
- For the depopulation of infected and exposed animals, USDA would work with states and industries to utilize the most efficient and effective depopulation methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association that are appropriate for the affected premises.
- To prevent the virus from leaving infected premises, USDA will work proactively with industry and states to ensure producers have herd plans to deal with carcass disposal in line with regional and local requirements, supporting composting and burial in place as preferred options.
- To reduce paperwork, USDA plans to pay for virus elimination at a uniform, flat rate, based on the size of affected premises.
The USDA will continue to work with industry and state partners to address ASF. “I think Undersecretary Ibach really brought out the importance of what the swine industry and USDA have been doing together,” Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said. David Herring, President of NPPC stated, “We are grateful to Secretary Perdue and Under Secretary Ibach for hearing the concerns of U.S. pork producers. We remain committed to working with the USDA and Customs and Border Protection to keep ASF out of the United States.”
USDA feels assured in these measures, stating their triumph in other diseases. “ASF is epidemiologically similar to foot-and-mouth disease and USDA’s system of overlapping safeguards and prevention efforts have been successful against that disease for over 90 years now,” said Ibach. “We remain confident those efforts will provide the same protections against ASF.”