Citing “an abundance of caution,” the National Pork Producers Council has announced it will cancel this year’s World Pork Expo in Iowa as the threat of African swine fever poses too great of a threat to the U.S. pork herd.
“While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a producer from Lillington, North Carolina. “The health of the U.S. swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defense against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States.”
The event, held each June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, draws upwards of 20,000 visitors from around the world.
The disease only affects pigs and represents no human health or food safety risks. There is currently no vaccine against the disease.
The decision to cancel this year’s World Pork Expo comes as more than 100 U.S pork producers gather in Washington this week to meet with their members of Congress during NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference. To augment the USDA’s efforts to protect the United States from ASF and other animal diseases, U.S. pork producers are asking Congress to appropriate funding for 600 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen our defenses against African swine fever.