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U.S. pork industry creates African Swine Fever crisis plan

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An extremely deadly disease found in swine is rapidly spreading across Europe and Asia.

Today, we continue our discussion on efforts to protect United States pork producers from the crippling disease, known as the African Swine Fever virus.

National Pork Board (NPB) senior vice president of science and technology Dave Phyburn says, “Countries impacted by African Swine Fever (ASF) report a 60- to 80-percent total death loss in domestic herds.” The frightening numbers could become reality for United States pork producers, if the disease were to enter into the country.

The United States pork industry, however, recently ramped up efforts to handle African Swine Fever. Cindy Cunningham, assistant vice president of communications for the National Pork Board, talks about an industry wide crisis and prevention plan.

“We worked together – the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, Swine Health Information Center and American Association of Swine Veterinarians – as a unified response team,” Cunningham said. “We each have specific areas we work on. By understanding and having a unified voice, we’re better able to protect our producers from this disease that’s currently in other parts of the world, but also if we were to get it here in the United States.”

The crisis and prevention plan deals with issues at hand, such as African Swine Fever. Pork industry proponents activated two different plans, which focus on producers and consumers.

“The first plan we’re working with now is before ASF gets to the U.S. That is looking at what to do today from a producer standpoint, as well as a consumer standpoint,” Cunningham said. “The second plan, God forbid, (is) if it were confirmed her in the United States – What our producers need to be doing and then what we would be doing with our consumers.”

Cunningham says, “Working through these plans in advance helps us respond more effectively and protect our producers and pigs.”

United States pork producers are encouraged to be proactive in responding to the active spread of African Swine Fever overseas. Crisis and prevention materials can be found at www.pork.org.