FMD Kick-off meeting

Animal Health Canada kicks off conversations about FMD planning and preparedness

On March 26, Animal Health Canada hosted a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Kick-off Meeting in Ottawa with a hybrid option. Close to 120 participants attended online and in-person including representatives from FPT governments: CFIA (Animal Health, International Affairs, Office of the CVO), Agriculture-AgriFood Canada and most provincial governments of agriculture. Industry was represented by Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Cattle Association, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canadian Sheep Federation, Canadian Cervid Alliance, Canadian Veal Association, Animal Nutrition Association of Canada, Canadian Meat Council and some of their members companies.

The intent of the meeting was to start the conversations about planning and preparedness for FMD, a contagious and federally reportable disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals and is being reported in other countries, outside North America.

Over the last 5 years a lot of great progress has gone into planning and preparedness for African Swine Fever (ASF) with the striking of the ASF Executive Management Board, which includes more than 200 points of contact from federal, provincial and territorial governments and all sections of the swine industry. The history, structures and processes behind the unprecedented collaboration were showcased throughout the morning with presentations from multiple working groups. The afternoon included a brainstorming session to take learnings from the ASF model and discuss what could lend itself to FMD. It was clear that the disease preparedness pillars of focus are similar and there’s no need to create a new structure, although there are many more complex discussions to follow on how the ASF work is completed and how the focus can shift to FMD, and other foreign animal diseases.

The agenda also included an update on the progress being made on the FMD vaccine strategy to compliment the FMD vaccine bank and the summary of an environmental scan on biosecurity materials from the livestock stakeholders.

Much material was covered over the day. Stakeholders walked away with recognition that working together collaboratively is key and there are structures and processes in place for ASF that can make the FMD work more efficient.