Biosecurity in Alberta

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*NEW Biosecurity Message from the Canadian Pork Council

African swine fever (ASF) is very contagious and is killing pigs and wild boars in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe. No treatment is currently available. Let’s work together so ASF does not make its way to Canada! Do not feed human food waste or meat to your pigs. More

What Is Biosecurity?

Biosecurity refers to practices designed to prevent, reduce or eliminate the introduction and spread of disease.

Livestock diseases can affect any type of operation regardless of size. Biosecurity practices tailored to each operation minimize the introduction and/or transmission of disease on a given farm, between farms and between species.

Why Is Biosecurity Important?

Biosecurity is a vital component of sustainable livestock production. Principles of biosecurity have become the foundation for animal health which has an associated relationship to food safety, trade and control of zoonotic diseases. Biosecurity practices are essential to maintaining market access and preventing the occurrence of Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) in Canada.

Biosecurity practices can:

  • prevent the introduction and spread of disease
  • protect humans from zoonotic diseases (diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans)
  • demonstrate commitment to animal health and food safety
  • be used as a recovery tool if disease incursions occur
  • save money spent on disease recovery costs

When Is Biosecurity Important?

Biosecurity is important at all times, though it is especially important when disease outbreaks are occurring nationally or internationally. Under these circumstances there is an elevated level of disease risk.

Today's global environment has the potential to spread diseases rapidly. Air travel has increased the number of people crossing borders on a daily basis and at any one time.

Where Is Biosecurity Applied?

Livestock owners apply biosecurity throughout their farms based on three main pillars:

  • access management,
  • animal health management, and
  • operational management. Examples of each include:

Who Should Practice Biosecurity?

All livestock and poultry producers should have biosecurity plans tailored to their specific operation. Producers are encouraged to work with industry organizations, veterinarians, and other animal health professionals in developing their biosecurity plans. All farm staff and anyone living on the farm need to understand the importance of biosecurity and follow the biosecurity protocols.

Did you know? Several Canadian organizations have developed biosecurity resources for livestock producers. click here for more information.

How Are Livestock Diseases Spread?

Livestock diseases are typically spread by:

Biosecurity Is Everyone’s Responsibility

All animal owners and types of livestock operations, livestock haulers, marketers, feed mills, processors, veterinarians, servicemen, inspectors and farm visitors (public) need to understand and adopt best practices in biosecurity. It is everyone's role to be informed about biosecurity. Before visiting a farm, ASK the owner / manager about the operation's specific biosecurity protocols. Biosecurity protocols will vary from farm to farm and between animal species, therefore, it is important to ask each and every time you visit a farm.

Click here for the biosecurity notes for people visiting farms
Click here for a sample checklist for farm visitors

Biosecurity Champions

Biosecurity Champions is a self-governing group promoting the principles and practices of biosecurity in Alberta. The group is comprised of producers, industry organizations, farm service representatives, academic and veterinary organizations directly or indirectly involved with animal agriculture and related industries.

Key activities performed by the Biosecurity Champions include: the sharing of information on industry specific biosecurity initiatives, the development and implementation of biosecurity promotional plans tailored to individual organizations and the distribution of biosecurity resources.
Available material for producers and industry to assist in the implementation and education of biosecurity practices include: informational brochures, farm gate signs, and visitor log templates.

For more information about Biosecurity Champions or biosecurity resources contact 780-422-6630.

Additional Information
Biosecurity for Overseas Travelers (78K)
Backyard Birds and Avian Influenza (87K)
Foot and Mouth Disease - Information for Producers (556KB)
Foot and Mouth Disease - Biosecurity Information for Agricultural Sector Travelers (522 KB)
Foot and Mouth Disease poster - 11 x 17 (554 KB)

Useful Links

Office of the Chief Provincial Veternarian

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ana Ulmer-Franco.
This information published to the web on April 11, 2006.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 17, 2018.