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Quebec offers $17.5M for PMWS-affected hog farms

Quebec’s provincial government will offer an ad-hoc aid package of over $17.5 million for hog farmers whose herds were hit by post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS).

Payment details for the aid package, announced Thursday by Agriculture Minister Laurent Lessard, are expected to be finalized in January. La Financiere agricole, the provincial ag lending and funding agency, will administer the program.

The aid package allows the province to compensate producers for their sudden PMWS-related losses as well as improve the financial situation for the hog production sector generally, Lessard said in a release.

PMWS, which manifests itself as a sudden and substantial increase in the death rate among young pigs in infected herds, is one of several swine illnesses associated with pork circovirus 2 (PCV2). The link was first established between PMWS and PCV2 during an outbreak in Western Canada in 1996.

The disease later re-emerged in swine herds in Quebec starting in the fall of 2004. That outbreak was contained by vaccinations in the fall of 2006 and weaned pigs’ death rates have since returned to normal levels, Lessard explained.

PMWS (referred to in Quebec as SDPS, short for syndrome de deperissement postsevrage) is considered by experts to be a “multi-factor” disease, meaning it needs another co-factor besides PCV2. Such co-factors could include a hog’s genetic makeup, the strength of its immune system or infection by other pathogens.

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