DES MOINES — For only the second time in its history, the National Pork Producers Council has cancelled the World Pork Expo in Des Moines. Jim Monroe, the council’s communications director, said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution.
“We think the chances that African Swine Fever could spread to the U.S. swine herd by holding the event are very, very remote,” he said, “but we can’t say that it’s zero.”
African Swine Fever is a viral disease that causes high death rates in pigs. It does not present human health or food safety risks. Monroe says an outbreak of the disease in the U.S. would be a devastating economic below to the livestock industry.
“There’s already a challenging environment that pork producers are operating in and if we had an outbreak of African Swine Fever or Foot and Mouth Disease, for example, that would immediately close our export markets,” Monroe said.
The National Pork Producers Council has hosted the World Pork Expo since 1987. The only other time the annual event was cancelled was in 2001, when Foot and Mouth Disease was detected in Europe.
Despite the expo’s cancellation, the National Swine Registry, Certified Pedigree Swine and American Berkshire Association are still planning a live hog show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds that typically runs in conjunction with the World Pork Expo. The groups have been working to confirm logistics for the events from June 2nd through the 8th and will provide those to exhibitors once all those details are finalized.