On Thursday, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced new funding of up to $31 million to increase the number of detector dogs at Canadian airports to help prevent illegally imported meat products from entering into Canada.
"As Canada's new Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, I am committed to continuing Canada's efforts to prevent the introduction of African swine fever into the country," said Bibeau. "By working collaboratively, producers, the Canadian public at large and the international community can help stop the spread of this deadly disease affecting swine populations and protect Canada's fourth largest agricultural sector."
The funding will allow for the addition of 24 detector dog teams over 5 years, bringing the total number to 39 Food, Plant, and Animal Detector Dog Service (DDS) teams.
Illegally imported meat and meat products from countries affected by African swine fever (ASF) present one of the greatest risks for introducing this animal disease to Canada. Detector dogs are the best available method to intercept meat products, making them the most effective tool in protecting Canada's swine population from ASF as well as other animal diseases.
It was also announced that Canada will host the first international ASF forum in Ottawa from April 30 to May 1, 2019.
Although Canada has never had a case of ASF, the disease continues to spread in parts of Asia and Europe.
ASF poses no risk to human health, but it could disrupt Canada's pork industry, which includes over 100,000 direct and indirect Canadian jobs.
The CFIA is considering implementing measures to prevent infected feed ingredients from ASF-affected countries from entering Canada and is closely monitoring the international situation to ensure the CBSA has the right border controls.
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