Thursday, June 4, 2009

Protecting Our Pigs

Humans Cause More Concern at World Pork Expo than the Pigs

H1N1 is also responsible for some changes at World Pork Expo. Nineteen-hundred hogs and pigs entering the Iowa State Fairgrounds before the Wednesday opening had to be inspected and confirmed as disease free. The H1N1 scare last month prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to recommend additional monitoring of animal health at major animal events - including fairs, major sales and exhibitions like the Expo. But since the virus can be borne from humans to animals, Iowa veterinarian Shawn Nicholson is more worried about humans making the pigs sick, with 71 confirmed H1N1 cases in Iowa. No pigs in the U.S. have been reported with the virus.

This year - for the first time - the Expo has stands with hand wipes installed in the animal barns - and visitors will receive hand wipes at the front gates. As for the animals – a veterinarian will inspect each one and producers must provide veterinary records to verify the pig is virus-free. Nicholson says vets will look for signs of respiratory problems - like coughing and hacking - as well as skin lesions. The veterinarians will also walk through pens throughout the show. Link

We have all seen images of people walking down the street shortly after the H1N1 outbreak wearing masks over the faces. The fact is that our pigs are the ones that we need to be concerned about. Livestock producers always take precautions to protect the health of their herd. But these days, our pork producers need to take extra steps to protect their pigs, and our food supply, from H1N1. This level of care is a great example of the commitment our farmers and ranchers have.

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