One hog producer in Nova Scotia is going to extraordinary measures to keep his farm free of a deadly pig virus.
A virus known as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) originated in China and has been confirmed in Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea poses no risk to people, but it’s having a dramatic effect on the pork industry.
The virus is highly contagious and it has already killed millions of piglets in the United States. So far, vaccines haven't worked.
Terry Beck, a Nova Scotia farmer, doesn’t want to risk his livestock. Instead of having trucks go to his farm to pick up hogs to take to slaughter, Beck drives his hogs a few kilometres down the road to meet the truck.
“I've got gloves here, latex gloves just so I'm not picking anything up from the truck if I happen to touch it. And I'm trying to avoid that so that I'm not going to track this back home," he said.
Truck driver Jonathan Huber travelled from Ontario to pick up some of Beck’s hogs. Ontario has 20 confirmed cases of the virus so he understands why local producers don't allow him anywhere near their farms.
"It's very serious. It's enough to put a lot of farmers out of business if they get it," said Huber.
"It's a risk, but you know the trailer is freshly washed and it's got all fresh new bedding and you know clean coveralls and plastic boots to prevent the spread as much as we possibly can."
The threat is so serious that Beck and Huber don’t even shake hands during the transfer. With a little prodding, 15 hogs worth $3,100 to Beck move from one truck to the other.
To date, Nova Scotia is free of PED. Beck's hoping to keep it that way.
"Even though we do all these measures there's no guarantee. There just isn't a guarantee that we have done enough to prevent this from coming here," he said.
After moving the pigs from Beck’s white truck to the larger one destined for the slaughterhouse, Beck's truck is now considered contaminated. The truck will not go near Beck's farm again for another 36 hours.