COLUMBIA, Mo. — As the summer fair season ramps up, biosecurity should be top of mind for those who show animals, especially in the case of swine, where keeping African swine fever out of the country is a top goal.
University of Missouri Extension veterinarian Cory Bromfield said she’s noticed less concern overall about African swine fever (ASF) among pork producers and those who show pigs. She calls it “ASF fatigue.”
“Producers have heard about African swine fever since 2018, when it was reported in China,” Bromfield said in a news release. “Over the next year or two it was often in the news, infecting a new country, and we were responding in the U.S., wanting to prevent it from coming here. Lately, it’s made it to the Western Hemisphere (Haiti and Dominican Republic), but people act like they’ve heard everything there is to hear about ASF. Because the U.S. hasn’t gotten it yet, it seems easier for them to ignore.”
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Bromfield has noticed less motivation to work on things like the Secure Pork Supply Plans that can help prevent ASF in the U.S.
“We do have people who can help producers and pig owners with the Secure Pork Supply Plan,” she said. “Our National Animal Disease Preparedness Response Program federal grant pays for Extension specialists to assist producers in creating their plans. It still requires input from them, but much more of the time-consuming portion can be taken off their plate.”
Especially now in fair season, there are easy things that people can do to improve their biosecurity, which will help not only in the case of ASF but will also help minimize transmission of the diseases we currently have in the U.S., said Bromfield.
- Dedicated clothing: People taking animals to fairs should wear dedicated clothing and footwear at the fair and not bring the same clothes/footwear home to their other animals. This is also an important practice around animals staying on the farm. Dedicated clothing and footwear that doesn’t leave your farm also help minimize the chance of bringing something back to the farm.
- Isolate animals after the fair: If animals are returning to the farm after the show, they should be housed away from the home herd for at least two weeks and worked with after working with the home herd. Even better are terminal shows, where the animals will not return to the home herd.
- Bring home animals only: Don’t bring anything from the fair that doesn’t need to come home, such as feed, shavings or manure, for example. Wash the trailer to clean off manure. Always wash your hands after interacting with animals.