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USDA clarifies ASF action plan comments

USDA said it will respond to any ASF detection in exactly the manner stated by undersecretary at Pork Forum.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a clarification related to the African swine fever (ASF) action plan it will use should the swine disease be detected in the U.S.

As USDA undersecretary Ibach stated recently at Pork Forum, USDA will:

  • Take the necessary steps to declare an extraordinary emergency. Such a declaration would ensure a coordinated national approach and the availability of sufficient resources.
  • Issue a national standstill of at least 72 hours to prohibit the movement of swine. Such a standstill gives the agency the best chance to immediately arrest the spread of the disease.
  • Use the most efficient and effective depopulation methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Assn., working closely with states and producers to apply the methods best fitted to each premises.
  • Prepare and implement herd plans to deal with carcass disposal according to regional and local requirements. Composting and burial in place are preferred as the best way to prevent disease spread.
  • Pay for virus elimination at a uniform, flat rate. This will reduce the paperwork burden on producers and save time.

Confusion around the agency's response plan resulted from comments made at this week's American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) meeting in Atlanta, Ga., when it was stated that a national standstill of at least 72 hours may not be the course of action the agency follows. USDA has come back to clarify the comments made by Dr. Jack Shere, associate administrator in charge of emergency planning and response, saying that in his comments, he emphasized USDA’s total commitment to first prevent and then be able to respond to any ASF outbreak but "involved speculation about a highly unusual and theoretical case of a detection in a single backyard or feral swine." Shere had noted that a national shutdown may not be the approach taken to counter a finding of ASF and that, rather, it could be more regional.

USDA said it will respond to any ASF detection in exactly the manner stated by the undersecretary at Pork Forum and in its March 6 press release (found here).

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