Disease threat cancels World Pork Expo

Ontario Pork Congress officials still considering the status of the local trade show

The Ontario Pork Congress does not yet have any comment about its show, after the World Pork Expo (WPE) was cancelled due to concerns about the threat of African Swine Fever.

OPC said it will comment April 18.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) board or directors cited “an abundance of caution” about ASF’s transmission in cancelling the WPE, which was to be held in Des Moines, Iowa from June 5-7. An estimated 20,000 pork producers and industry stakeholders were expected to attend,

The WPE draws visitors from around the world and it was concern about international visitors bringing the virus that resulted in the show’s cancellation. African Swine Fever is moving through China and can also be found in parts of Europe and Africa.

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Strangely enough, the large live hog show that takes place at the World Pork Expo will continue to take place.

The NPPC news release stressed the actual risk at the event of the arrival in North America of ASF – which is currently confirmed in numerous outbreaks across China, and more isolated instances in other parts of Asia and eastern Europe – is very small.

“While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution,” said North Carolina pork producer and NPPC president David Herring, in the news release. “The health of the US swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defense against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States.”

Both the World Pork Expo and the OPC – which is longer-running than the Expo (OPC is set this year to mark its 46th edition) but also considerably smaller in scale (it typically hosts approximately 2,500 pork producers) – have been cancelled once previously in their event’s history due to disease transmission threat. Both happened in 2001 due to the risk of foot and mouth disease.

About the author

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Stew Slater operates a small dairy farm on 150 acres near St. Marys, Ont., and has been writing about rural and agricultural issues since 1999.

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