The National Pork Producers Council Board of Directors are meeting today and tomorrow to discuss, among other things, the prospect of cancelling this year's World Pork Expo. The three-day event, scheduled to take place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on June 7-9, is in jepordy because of the widespread economic implications of foot-and-mouth disease should it enter the United States.

World Pork Expo will likely be cancelled, according to Ernie Barnes, show manager for NPPC.

The NPPC board will consider several alternatives, and while the odds are slim that FMD would enter the country via exposure at WPX, the consensus it is not worth the risk. Enough producers, general attendees and exhibitors have expressed concern to merit cancelling the show. Some livestock shows elsewhere in the United States and Canada are beginnig to be cancelled as FMD precautionary measures as well.

Barnes says he’s not convinced about the human-to-animal FMD transmission link, but “we realize that sometimes perception is larger than reality.”

Should the event does go on, Barnes says organizers will implement increased biosecurity measures, such as a spray mist that attendees must walk through. Attendees would also have to wear plastic boots and walk through foot baths. Last year, Barnes notes, attendees used foot baths and plastic boots to address a less-serious foot-and-mouth outbreak in Taiwan.

World Pork Expo provides non-checkoff funds to run NPPC's Washington, DC office. With the USDA national pork checkoff settlement agreement, NPPC will no longer receive any checkoff funding and will rely solely on non-checkoff funds to run its public policy, legislative and regulatory programs. Cancelling WPX will challenge its fundraising efforts.