Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Paul Kitching
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Reference: Banff Pork Seminar 2002
Country: Canada


Foot and mouth disease is a highly infectious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals characterized by fever, loss of production, and vesicles on the mouth, feet, and teats. It is considered to be the most contagious disease of all animal virus diseases. February 19th, 2001 saw the first case of FMD in the UK since 1981. Infection was acquired at the abattoir. FMD transmits through movement of infected animals, feeding of animal by-products, and contact with mechanically carried FMD virus or aerosol spread. Carrier cattle can shed the disease and cause new outbreaks, but this is rare. FMD began appearing mainly in the west of England and southern Scotland and Wales. Infected sheep spread the disease to Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, France, and the Netherlands. Slaughter policies were extended to neighbouring farms of infected farms (within a 3 km radius). Slaughter was to be completed within 24 hours of diagnosis and 48 hours for neighbouring farms. Planning before an outbreak would have been helpful in improving the disease eradication procedure. Because the disease started in pigs, the spread to sheep confused the control program. Farmers did not pay enough attention to the disease when moving between flocks. The FMD virus had almost certainly been introduced with infected meat that was imported illegally and by feeding waste food to pigs that had come into contact with the virus. Carcass disposal quickly became a problem as there were too many to bury, too many to burn, and rendering plants were overwhelmed. The closure of public footpaths due to possible spreading of the disease had negative effects on the tourism industry. FMD can affect ruminants following recovery of disease, or even animals that have been protected by vaccination (even so, immunity lasts only 6 months). Vaccinations and close monitoring can help to re-establish an FMD-free status.

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