The National Pork Producers Council has canceled its signature summer event out of an “abundance of caution” as African Swine Fever continues to rip through the global pork herd.
Although the disease has not been detected in North America, it has spread across Asia and Europe and has resulted in the depopulation of thousands of pigs. ASF poses no threat to human health but causes high mortality in hogs, leading NPPC to cancel the World Pork Expo, a three-day event that brings together a large group of people and pigs alike.
“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,” NPPC President David Herring said. “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.”
Herring added that an already difficult trade climate was a factor in the decision to cancel the event.
“An ASF outbreak would immediately close our export markets at a time when we are already facing serious trade headwinds,” Herring said. “The retaliatory tariffs we currently face in some of our largest export markets due to trade disputes are among the factors that prompted a conservative decision regarding World Pork Expo.
“U.S. pork producers are already operating in very challenging financial conditions," he added.
The Expo is held every summer on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. About 20,000 visitors attend the event every year.
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