May 2, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Chief Veterinary Officer for the United States, Dr. Jack Shere, accompanied by Dr. Jaspinder Komal, Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada and by Dr. Juan Gay Gutierrez, Chief Veterinary Officer for Mexico issued the following statement about the African swine fever (ASF) forum that took place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on April 30 and May 1:
Over the course of the last two days, we have worked with colleagues from around the globe at the Forum to address the risk of ASF, a serious animal disease currently impacting swine herds in Europe and Asia.
I would like to thank the over 150 leaders and decision makers from government and industry from 15 countries who shared their expertise, engaged in productive discussions, and contributed to developing strategies to address ASF.
Jointly, we have developed a framework that will support ongoing international collaboration and action in the areas of preparedness planning, enhanced biosecurity, business continuity, and coordinated risk communications.
This framework lays the foundation for:
· A high state of readiness to swiftly control ASF should it enter the Americas region
· Strengthening biosecurity measures to prevent the entry of ASF and mitigate its spread
· Establishing agreements in the swine sector to mitigate the trade impacts of ASF
· Effective communications to best inform Canadians and our neighbouring countries about the risk of ASF
Through our dialogue over the past two days, we have also identified several key partnerships and governance options to advance the implementation of the jointly developed framework at the regional, or the Americas level, as well as at the sub-regional and national levels.
The Forum is not the end of our work together, as we have found areas where more exploration is needed. But our discussions have set us up to take this important work further. Over the next day, conversations continue at the World Organization of Animal Health’s (OIE) 25th Conference of the Regional Commission of the Americas which will also be held here in Ottawa.
Additionally, the developed framework will add to the discussions about the advancement of a global strategy on ASF happening in May at the 87th OIE General Session and with the Chief Veterinary Officers of the G7.
Given that the Americas are currently free of ASF, we have an opportunity now to continue to act decisively and collaboratively to increase awareness around ASF, fill in gaps that have been identified, and proactively negotiate partnerships and agreements to aid in our approach to the disease.
We are pleased with what we have accomplished together during the ASF Forum and look forward to our continued collaboration with both domestic and international representatives in industry and all levels of government to manage the potential impacts of ASF in the Americas.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.