As if Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) wasn’t enough to worry about, now pork producers need to mindful of another threat: thieves looking to take advantage of higher hog prices and the biosecurity concerns that comes with these intruders.
Last month, 23 pigs were stolen from Big Sky Farms in Canada. But for a farm with around 4,500 pigs, the missing pigs are merely a drop in the proverbial bucket.
The real story isn’t just the hog thefts, driven by prices made higher thanks in part to PEDv.
It’s the biosecurity concerns of thieves breaking into their facilities.
Owner Casey Smit explained to The Leader-Post thieves could be bringing in PEDv to the farm, a disease that has since cost the Canadian pork industry alone an estimated $45 million in losses.
"All of our facilities are shower-in facilities to prevent disease from spreading," he said. "So when anybody enters our facility, such as in this break-in, and they go around that, it raises the risk of something happening in terms of bringing a disease into the facility.”
Bill Strautman of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association adds livestock theft is a growing problem as prices climb.
“People have just got to be diligent about it and watch for unusual vehicles or people with trailers that shouldn’t be out there,” Strautman said.
Livestock theft is not just a Canadian problem. In 2013, the U.S. cattle industry saw an increasing in cattle rustling driven by high prices. Click here to read more. The National Pork Board has developed a guide to help develop a security program tailored to each farm’s system. The guide can be downloaded here.