University of Guelph Prof. Robert Friendship is available for interviews on African swine fever, including the threat it poses to Canada, and how ongoing outbreaks in Asia and Europe are affecting pork producers in Canada.
Friendship is a veterinarian who specializes in swine and has been a faculty member at the Ontario Veterinary College for 40 years.
He says that while African swine fever, or ASF, has not been found in Canada, an outbreak here would be devastating. Millions of healthy pigs would need to be destroyed and the Canadian pork industry would feel significant effects, since Canada exports over 60 per cent of our pigs and pork.
ASF is a highly contagious viral disease that infects pigs and is almost always fatal. There is no vaccine to prevent it nor treatment to cure it.
Since 2008, ASF has spread throughout Eastern Europe, Russia and since 2018, China and surrounding countries. In recent months, Chinese pork farmers have had to cull close to 1 million pigs, leading to significant market shortages.
Friendship is a professor in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, and teaches swine health management, disease surveillance and food safety.
He is a member of the American and the Canadian Associations of Swine Veterinarians and the European Association of Porcine Health Management. In March, Ontario Pork presented him with an Industry Achievement Award for his contributions to the pork industry.
Prof. Robert Friendship