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5 tips to keep your farm animals safe

(NC) During escalating challenges such as wildfires, flooding, extreme temperatures and the threat of viruses, the well-being of your animals is important. From comprehensive emergency planning to biosecurity measures and careful feeding practices, here are five tips to keep your animals safe and healthy.

Have an emergency plan
Establish an emergency plan to keep your animals safe. Include details like transportation and evacuation routes when possible, along with copies of important documents like veterinary records and property maps. Ensure you have a two-week supply of feed, water and medications for your animals. By planning ahead you’ll be able to make quick and effective decisions during a crisis.

Biosecurity is not a buzzword
Strong biosecurity measures are an important way to prevent the spread of diseases and contaminants to your flock or herd year-round. They typically involve steps such as isolating new animals from others for two weeks, establishing visitor protocols, and ensuring proper procedures for boot and handwashing, as well as equipment cleaning. When travelling abroad, ensure you follow protocols so diseases aren’t accidentally introduced to animals.

Given a global risk of diseases like African swine fever (ASF), biosecurity is the most important measure to stop the spread if it is ever detected in Canada. While this viral disease cannot be transmitted to humans and is not a food-safety risk, it is almost always deadly for pigs. They could catch it from an infected pig or through contact with contaminated clothing and farm equipment.

Caution with food scraps as feed
Food recycle programs that gather surplus food from grocers, and repurposing kitchen scraps may seem like practical ways to reduce food waste, but it’s important to exercise caution. Avoid feeding scraps to animals because the food could impact their nutrition or be contaminated. For pigs, ASF can be spread through small amounts of contaminated pork product which is why it is illegal in Canada to feed pigs meat.

Wild animals are not friends
While your animals may spend time outside, it’s important to protect them from potential disease carriers like birds, foxes and wild pigs. Despite not being traditional predators, birds can spread avian influenza, and wild pigs can transmit ASF if it spreads to Canada. Ensure your animals do not have contact with wild animals.

Monitor your animals closely
Regularly observe your animals for any behavioural or physical changes. This will help you spot subtle signs of poor health before issues become more serious or illness spreads further.

Learn more about how to protect your animals from ASF on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website at

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