Threat of deadly virus forces pigs to go from fairs to the slaughterhouse
Swine • Order is aimed at preventing spread of highly contagious virus.
Published: May 1, 2014 10:40AM
Updated: May 1, 2014 09:58AM
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FILE - In this July 9, 2009 file photo Dr. Craig Rowles stands with hogs in one of his Carroll, Iowa, hog buildings. The farmer and longtime veterinarian did all he could to prevent porcine epidemic diarrhea from spreading to his farm, but despite his best efforts the deadly diarrhea attacked in November 2013, killing 13,000 animals in a matter of weeks. PED, a virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it’s threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Students, farmers and others who show pigs and hogs at Utah fairs and livestock shows this year will not be allowed to take the animals back to the farm under a new emergency order issued by the state veterinarian.

Once the fairs and exhibitions are over, the swine must go directly to slaughter, according to the order which goes into effect Monday, May. 5.

The state said these “terminal” shows are needed to prevent the introduction or spread of the highly contagious livestock disease called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv.

While deadly for swine, PEDv is not a threat to humans or other animal species.

The state’s emergency order also requires all hogs and pigs entering Utah to be inspected by a veterinarian and have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) that says the swine have not, within the past 30 days, originated from premises known to be affected by PEDv.

“PEDv is highly contagious, and therefore aggressive steps must be taken to protect Utah’s $200 million pork industry,” Assistant State Veterinarian, Warren Hess, said in a news release issued Tuesday.

The order does not cancel livestock shows, but does put into place “prudent measures” intended to keep Utah free of the PED virus, Hess said.

Utah recently relaxed its ban on “terminal” swine shows. But because of the recent appearance of PEDv in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona, it was become necessary to reinstate the protections.

Since June 2013, as many as 7 million pigs have died in the United States due to the virus. PEDv was first diagnosed in Ohio last May and has spread to 30 states with no reliable cure in sight, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.