AASV news

AASV forms PRRS task force

The North American PRRS Eradication Task Force (NAPETF) and the AASV PRRS Committee met during the AASV Annual Meeting in San Diego on March 8. The groups formally requested that the AASV Board of Directors make some changes to the current committee structure to enhance the efficiency of the association’s effort to address questions associated with PRRS management and elimination.

In response, the board approved a motion to retire the NAPETF and to rename the PRRS Committee the AASV PRRS Task Force. The missions of the NAPETF and the PRRS Committee would be rolled into the mission of the task force and reevaluated to reduce the likelihood of duplication of efforts. The board wishes to recognize and thank the many members who have given their time and expertise to address the many challenges posed by the PRRS virus. Since its emergence in the late 1980s, PRRS has confounded producers, veterinarians, and researchers alike. The members of the PRRS committee and the NAPETF have worked diligently to identify needed research and management issues requiring further exploration and educational information to benefit our membership.

The AASV Executive Committee met and further reviewed ways to make the task force more effective. It was decided that the task force should comprise a relatively small number of members and would act as a steering committee, overseeing ad hoc working groups established as needed to address very specific projects identified as pertinent to achieving the task force’s mission.

The executive committee has also asked Dr Max Rodibaugh to chair the task force. Dr Rodibaugh was AASV president at the time the original PRRS Committee was formed and is interested in working with the membership to develop educational materials, to offer research guidance and review, and to further the dissemination of information to the AASV membership regarding the control, management, and elimination of the PRRS virus.

USDA to allow imports of uncooked pork and pork products processed in regions with CSF

The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of uncooked pork and pork products processed in regions where classical swine fever (CSF) exists. APHIS is taking this action primarily to allow uncooked pork and pork products that originate in the United States to be processed in Mexico and then returned to the United States.

Under this rule, in order to be eligible for importation into the United States, all uncooked pork and pork products processed in regions where CSF is considered to exist must originate from regions free of CSF. Uncooked pork and pork products that originate from CSF-affected regions cannot be shipped into the United States.

To prevent contamination, processing facilities cannot receive live swine or pork or pork products from CSF-affected regions, and these facilities must be evaluated and approved by APHIS. All shipments to and from CSF-affected regions must be accompanied by a detailed certificate and sent in sealed, serially numbered containers. These and other measures are designed to safeguard US agriculture from CSF.

Classical swine fever, also known as hog cholera, is a highly contagious viral disease of swine. The most common method of transmission is direct contact between healthy swine and those infected with CSF. Classical swine fever was eradicated from the United States in 1978 after a 16-year effort by the industry and state and federal governments. Classical swine fever does not affect human health.

Notice of this final rule is scheduled for publication in the April 2 Federal Register and becomes effective upon publication.

Comment: These amendments were initially proposed by USDA in January 2007. At that time, the AASV, the National Pork Board, and others submitted comments expressing concern with the proposed changes. The concerns ranged from questions associated with monitoring of facilities, processes, and final products to requests for a thorough assessment to quantify the risks and benefits to the swine industry. These comments are acknowledged in the final rule (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?position=all&page=17881&dbname=2008_register), but no alterations were made to the proposed amendments to address the concerns expressed.

National Institute for Animal Agriculture honors AASV members

Dr Jerome Geiger and Dr Rick Sibbel were honored at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA’s) annual meeting on April 1st in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr Geiger, US Health Assurance Veterinarian with PIC North America, was presented the NIAA President’s Award in recognition of exemplary leadership and dedication to the organization.

“Like all of our committee chairmen, Dr Geiger gives unselfishly of his time and knowledge for the advancement of animal agriculture,” said Michele Vise-Brown, NIAA’s president and CEO. “What brought Dr Geiger to the top was his enthusiasm, dedication, and industry leadership and his willingness to go beyond the call of duty while chairing the organization’s Animal Care Committee. He makes time when no time is available, and this year served as chairman of the annual meeting planning committee.”

Dr Sibbel, Director of Technical Services, Global Ruminant, Schering-Plough Animal Health, was presented the NIAA Meritorious Service Award in recognition of leadership, dedication, and contributions to the organization and animal agriculture.

“Dr Sibbel provided incredible leadership to NIAA at a time when it was most needed,” stated 2008 NIAA chairman-elect Dr Leonard Bull, who presented the award. “He is adept at leading people and organizations and has given a tremendous amount of himself and his talent to animal agriculture.”

Within NIAA, Dr Sibbel has served as chairman of the swine health committee, chair and vice chair of the NIAA Board of Directors, and chairman of NIAA’s long-range planning committee. He played a key role in the development and launch of the first genetically engineered pseudorabies vaccine, the first influenza vaccine for swine, and the first viral-vectored vaccine for poultry. He is a past president of the AASV and a past and current member of various American Veterinary Medical Association committees.

The NIAA has five species-based committees – cattle, swine, sheep and goat, equine, and poultry – as well as six issues-based committees – animal care, animal health emergency management, animal health and international trade, animal identification and information systems, animal production food safety and security, and emerging disease – and one subcommittee, equine identification.