P.E.I. government approves funding for hog farm sanitation, screening

Teresa Wright
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Pigs are pictured at a pig barn at an Ontario farm in a handout photo. Officials have  confirmed a case of the highly contagious pig virus that has ravaged herds across the U.S. has now been found in Prince Edward Island

The P.E.I. government has approved $115,000 in financial aid to hog farmers for increased sanitation and screening measures, now that a case of the deadly pig virus has been confirmed in the province.

Tim Seeber, executive director of the P.E.I. Hog Commodity Marketing Board, said the board requested government assistance close to a month ago but received no response.

Then late Tuesday afternoon, The Guardian received a statement from the Department of Agriculture confirming the funding would be forthcoming.

“The department moved swiftly to approve the project and was ready to launch the program within two days of notification that porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) had been diagnosed on P.E.I.,” says a statement emailed to The Guardian Tuesday.

The first reported case in P.E.I. was detected by a veterinary lab last week and confirmed on Sunday.

But hog producers in the province have been undergoing stringent cleaning and disinfecting measures for some time now, especially after the virus was first confirmed to have arrived in Canada last month.

Ever since, Seeber says Island hog farmers have been incurring numerous additional costs as a result of these heightened bio-security measures, especially for trucks that must transport hogs from P.E.I. to the nearest processing plant in Quebec.

“The costs of totally cleaning, washing, disinfecting and drying a truck adds about $4 a hog to our transportation costs,” Seeber said. “That is a huge increase and if we want to keep this disease at bay, we’ll have to do that going forward and that is a significant impact on the industry.”

The $115,000 in funding announced Tuesday will be delivered to the hog board to administer a project to enhance swine farm bio-security.

This will cover costs such as sanitation equipment required to properly wash and disinfect vehicles and equipment; training for individuals on bio-security by veterinarians, as well as special bio-secure entries to pig barns and pig loading facilities.

“The department also is covering expenses associated with the provincial veterinarian in determining the source of the disease. The department will cover environmental sampling costs by the provincial vet as well as the lab testing costs,” a department spokeswoman wrote in an email to The Guardian.

Prices for P.E.I. hogs are not expected to be negatively impacted by the fact the virus has been found here. In fact, the loss of so many piglets as a result of this highly contagious swine illness in the U.S. has driven up demand.

“They figure over a million hogs have been taken out of the U.S. market, which drives up the Canadian price. I guess that’s the only plus side of this disease,” Seeber said.

There have been no other cases of the virus found in P.E.I., but producers are taking no chances. All pig farms have strict sanitation measures in place and are taking all precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the disease.

And now they have some provincial dollars to help with these additional measures.

“It’s just a matter of just being a little bit more diligent in everything that we do,” Seeber said.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: P.E.I. Hog Commodity Marketing Board, Department of Agriculture

Geographic location: P.E.I., Canada, Quebec U.S.

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Recent comments

  • Why
    February 19, 2014 - 15:51

    Why in God's name is our goverment passing out this money when a above story in today's paper is telling all of us that the income on PEI farms is at a all time high . Can't these MLA's read or are they just that stupid . These farmers do not need a piece of my measly old age pension .

  • don
    February 19, 2014 - 14:40

    election time coming. wes will find millions to buy the votes they need to stay in. they have not fully bankrupt PEI yet.

  • WHERE IS THE END
    February 19, 2014 - 13:26

    Where does it end?? The small amount of taxpayers on PEI cannot keep every PRIVATE business on PEI going. Even where they own millions they are given more and more is taken from the taxpayers to provide it. The word PRIVATE BUSINESS id not even in the dictionary for this Government. We need PRIVATE BUSINESSES here that can run as private businesses and politicians that run the Government and stay OUT OF PRIVATE BUSINESS

  • Again
    February 19, 2014 - 10:04

    Again we have tax dollars going to private businesses . When O when will this bleeding of the taxpayer stop . Isn't there any business here on PEI that can operate on their own ??????

  • Barn Door
    February 19, 2014 - 04:45

    Isn't that like shutting the barn door after the horse has been let out?