Animal health has been very important to Canada since the early days of the country. Just after the Canadian Confederation was established, one of the very first acts, the first for Agriculture, enacted by the Parliament dealt with animal health. High animal health standards were crucial to expanding and improving Canada's early livestock industry.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), is responsible for the national animal health program which employs approximately 900 persons including 350 veterinarians and 35 research scientists. DFIA's present policies on preventing and eradicating exotic diseases were established many years ago and the department saw the need to have veterinarians specialized in diagnosing and controlling these diseases.
As a result of strict practices and disease control measures, Canada's livestock is permitted access to foreign markets whereas animals originating from larger competing countries are not. Canada is now widely recognized not only for its quality of livestock, but also for its elite health status.
The Canadian pork industry has particularly benefited from a close working relationship with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as the Canadian hog population is free from all major diseases, such as Hog Cholera (Swine Fever), African Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease, Swine Brucellosis, Pseudorabies (Aujeszyky's Disease) and Swine Vesicular Disease. The process is now under way to declare the Canadian livestock population free from Trichinosis, which will make Canada the first country to free itself of one of the major consumers' source of aversion towards eating pork.
The close cooperation that exists in Canada between the industry, the universities, the provincial marketing agencies, the national associations and the provincial and federal departments will ensure that our country remains a world leader in the animal health sector.
A barometer of Canada's health of animal status is the continuing level of uninterrupted export business we conduct in breeding stock and pork products.
Although Canada shares the world's longest unguarded border with the United States, our hog population enjoys a distinct and separate reputation and characteristics in regards to its health status.
For more information, please refer to: www.swinehealth.ca