In the latest issue of Ontario Hog Farmer, U.S. agricultural economist Dr. Steve Meyer called the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, which is responsible for one of the largest animal disease outbreaks in North America and the deaths of eight million piglets in the U.S. alone, a financial boon for Canadian pig producers.
The PED virus was first detected in May of 2013 in the Midwestern U.S. and moved into Canada this past January. The virus causes severe watery diarrhea in piglets and results in nearly 100 percent mortality. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in affected barns, each mother pig loses three of her piglets, who writhe in pain as they wither away, to the virus.
Speaking at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Meyer boasted that the steep reduction in pork supply because of the massive death toll has led to record-high pork prices:
There is a negative for some producers, but as an industry we are going to have the best year we ever had. …
… I am hesitant to suggest that PED has had a negative impact on the industry when the market is rewarding us for those shortfalls; as an industry the market is compensating us quite well.
Surprisingly, Dr. Meyer is not the first to publicly applaud the PED outbreak; pig producers across Canada have made similar comments in the agricultural press.
If revelry in the misery of animals by the livestock industry turns your stomach, you can withdraw your support by adopting a healthy and humane plant-based diet. Visit ChooseVeg.ca to learn how.
Photo credit: Dr. Olivier Berreville