NPPC is worried about rescue dogs from Asia possibly devastating the livestock sector

We are hearing from the National Pork Producers Council about the number of rescue dogs coming into the U.S. Many of those animals come from countries battling foreign animal diseases.

NPPC’s chief veterinarian says that she is especially concerned about dogs from Asian wet markets.

When animals come from wet markets, they can be contaminated by blood, urine, or manure.

According to Liz Wagstrom, “That could then serve to carry African swine fever, or foot-and-mouth disease, or classical swine fever.”

Wagstrom says that the dogs themselves are not susceptible to those diseases, but they can carry them in through a variety of factors.

“So, our concern is that one of these animals could come into the United States, be adopted by somebody on a farm, and be carrying the virus and the contamination on their coat, or that the crates and other hard items like bowls or bedding could be improperly disposed of and feral pigs could get into them,” she explains.

She says that if a foreign animal disease were to enter the U.S. it would immediately shut down trade and have a devastating impact on livestock.

“Even if it were African swine fever that only impacts the pig industry, we would have trading partners that may question milk, and meat, and poultry exports,” she states.

That would be a multi-billion dollar hit to the entire livestock industry: “The depressed prices for pork could end up depressing prices for beef, poultry, and milk products as well. So, it would be a multiple billion-dollar hit to the entire livestock industry.”

It could also have a severe impact on the soybean industry, which sells to hog producers. National Pork says that USDA has the authority to oversee dogs coming into the U.S. and would like to see it take steps to protect livestock.

“We’re asking the USDA to write rules on how to safely bring those dogs in,” she adds. “We understand they’re being rescued from pretty horrific conditions, and so, if they’re coming in to be rescued, let’s make sure they’re coming in a safe manner.”

That would be a win-win for the dogs and the U.S. livestock industry.