Fair season is upon us and practicing good biosecurity is a critical step to keep your pigs and the people around you healthy before, during, and after a pig show. Minimizing the risk of spreading diseases and viruses should be a top priority for everyone.
Dr. Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health with the National Pork Board said public health is engrained in the industry resources and certifications.
“Pork Quality Assurance Plus Program, as well as the Youth Quality Assurance Program which covers all livestock species. So, the pillars of public health, how to maintain herd health. all those things are represented there, and again drive you to those additional resources of your veterinarian and even your physician.”
Basic biosecurity protocols like not sharing equipment and washing hands are always best practice. But underlying all that, just like for people, if your pig isn’t feeling good, keep them home.
“As we think about influenza and agricultural settings, there’s the potential of sharing this virus between people and pigs, and we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for ourselves, the animals in our care and the general public.”
Fowler said agricultural fairs are a chance for the public to see the different species of livestock and to interact with producers.
“It’s a great opportunity for you to be an ambassador, so it’s imperative that we implement those practices that make sure it’s a safe environment for those members of the general public, as well as yourself and the animals in your care. We want people to go home and say I had a great experience, not I think I got sick from that. So, we want to make sure that it’s overall positive.”
If humans or pigs develop influenza-like-illness at an exhibition or fair, animal health and public health officials should be notified immediately. Public health officials should facilitate human testing for influenza viruses, investigate the source of illness, and attempt to identify additional human cases. Visit porkcheckoff.org to learn how producers can keep people, pigs and the planet healthy.