This past week I was in a planning meeting for next year’s American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting. The obvious topic on the table was PEDv which led to a discussion of the industry risks associated with foreign animal disease (FAD). With approximately 25% of our product exported the risk of FAD to our industry is huge.
If the US should be diagnosed with a FAD such as foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever (hog cholera) or African swine fever, all exports would stop immediately under world trade agreements. The impact would be devastating, even if your farm/system/state was not the location of the disease outbreak.
The thought of this devastation to our livestock industries got me to thinking about how one might insure against such a risk. I don’t pretend to have a working knowledge of the many options available for business insurance. I know many of you have business continuity insurance. Will this insurance be valid in the face of a FAD introduction in the US or your farm or will it be deemed an ‘Act of God’? Is this the correct insurance for this risk or are there other options? Is this a risk that is uninsurable?
If a FAD is diagnosed in your region and all pig movement stops as control measures are put in place, how will you deal with pig care, etc? If you can’t sell pigs to slaughter (or weaned pigs) for a period of time, can you insure against this loss? Is this a risk that one should consider investigating the insurance options for?
I was at another large industry meeting for a national livestock group last week. The vet experts essentially said the same thing about PEDv being “the easy disease” compared to what could potentially come our way. For human diseases there is the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that is constantly monitoring outbreaks, tracking their movement and trying to mitigate the spread. Is there currently any organizations out there tasked with doing the same thing for animal diseases? It seems like the PEDv scare is significant enough that we could get private and public funds to help start a “Livestock Division” of the CDC.