Nova Scotia pork farmers are taking steps to avoid the spread of a deadly pig virus found on Prince Edward Island.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea poses no risk to people, but it’s having a dramatic effect on the pork industry.
Terry Beck, chairman of Pork Nova Scotia, said it spreads pig to pig. An arrival in Nova Scotia would devastate the province’s 11 pig farms that raise more than 65,000 pigs.
'I think we would lose the industry.' - Terry Beck, Pork Nova Scotia
The virus is highly contagious and it has already killed millions of piglets in the United States. So far, vaccines haven't worked.
The virus originated in China and has been confirmed in Manitoba and Ontario.
“I think we would lose the industry because I can't financially absorb those types of losses, nor can anybody else, because the industry hasn't been that strong in the last five, six years,” Beck said.
Beck said it is essential that scientists determine what spreads the virus. He suspects a type of baby pig feed that contains animal by-products could be the source.
Until they know for sure, he's not taking any chances on his own farm.
“We loaded out a bunch of pigs last week. The truck didn't come close to the farm. Probably about three or four kilometres away, we used a ramp-to-ramp system from our truck to their truck so we didn't have contact with the truck that came in from Ontario,” he said.
Beck said for now, pig farms across the province will remain tight on security. They will let only staff in as they wait for researchers to find out how to deal with the problem.