1. Introduction

1.1 Defining Biosecurity

Biosecurity is the term used to describe the measures and procedures needed to protect a population against the introduction and spread of pathogens. FAO/WB/OIE experts (2009) defined it as "the implementation of measures that reduce the risk of the introduction and spread of disease agents. It requires the adoption of attitudes and behaviours by people to reduce risk in all activities involving domestic, captive/exotic and wild animals and their products".

A biosecurity plan can be implemented to attain three strategic objectives:

1) Bio-exclusion or external biosecurity: policies developed to prevent the introduction of a new pathogen to pigs housed on livestock premises.

2) Bio-management or internal biosecurity: a biosecurity strategy developed to reduce the spread of disease among pigs on premises already contaminated with a pathogen.

3) Bio-containment: a biosecurity strategy developed to prevent the escape and spread of pathogens already present on pig premises in order to prevent spread to another population of animals.

1.2 Defining the National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard

1.2.1 Aim of the Standard

The aim of this Standard is to assist the swine industry attain and apply the strategic objectives of bioexclusion, bio-confinement and bio-management of swine pathogens and zoonoses in Canada.

1.2.2 Biosecurity Best Management Practices (BMPs)

The Standard has been developed in a way that will enable stakeholders, at an appropriate time and at the discretion of the industry, to develop biosecurity best management practices specific to each type of farm and production system.

An accompanying user guide has been developed as an implementation tool for this Standard. It contains a comprehensive description of the best management practices (BMPs) and the actions needed to create a farm-specific biosecurity plan.

1.2.3 Scope of the Standard

The National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard applies to all types of pig production in Canada including intensive and extensive, and large or small herds.

The scope of this standard covers the breeding and production of pigs from birth to maturity or sale, and acknowledges that many farms are part of a larger integrated multi-site production system with common health status and biosecurity practices.

It was developed to address all pathogens causing disease in swine and those related to food safety and human health.

1.2.4 Targeted Audience

This Standard is a comprehensive voluntary standard designed to provide Biosecurity guidance for veterinarians, producers, owners or managers, and service providers in all swine sectors in Canada.

An accompanying user guidance manual will provide guidance and specific examples of how the standard principles can be applied.

1.2.5 Relationship to Other Initiatives

The National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard is intended to be complementary to other initiatives needed to maintain the health of the Canadian swine herd. In particular, this Standard will integrate with the following initiatives:

1) Canadian pork traceability and identification programs,

2) provincial and national Canadian swine disease monitoring and surveillance strategies, and

3) relevant federal and provincial animal health legislation.

1.3 Biosecurity Considerations

1.3.1 Principles in the Standard

Measures and procedures applied at the farm or the production system level to reduce the risk of pathogen introduction, and those applied within a production siteto reduce the risk of pathogen spread, can be grouped into three general principles:

  • Segregation (Seg): The application of barriers (physical barriers, temporal separation of activities, and procedures) to limit risk of pathogens from infected animals and from contaminated materials from entering an uninfected site or group of animals.
  • Sanitation (San): Described as cleaning and washing to remove visible organic material, disinfecting and drying; all to reduce and/or inactivate pathogens.
  • Flow Management (FM): The actions taken to prevent the cross-contamination of uninfected pigs by organizing the flow of pigs, people and materials within a farm or a production system.
  • Records: While not a biosecurity principle in itself, documentation is required to support the application of BMPs, training and compliance with biosecurity protocols. A verification process may be performed by internal or external inspection or by an independent third-party audit and is important to confirm that biosecurity best management practices are applied.

1.3.2 Biosecurity Planning and Training

Every farm or production system should have a written plan documenting its biosecurity protocols. Appropriate education, training, and compliance strategies should be utilized so that all people working. on and around the premises are properly informed and trained to apply the required biosecurity measures. Personnel should review, understand and follow the applicable biosecurity protocols for their assigned tasks. The CPC will develop tools to accomplish these tasks, including a user guide, video and supporting literature accessible at www.cpc-ccp.com.

1.3.3 Communication Strategy

A well-defined biosecurity strategy must include good communication and discussion among all stakeholders. Transmission of pathogens can be a regional problem that requires an effective communication network between stakeholders of different production systems.

1.3.4 Health Status Monitoring

Farm and production system monitoring of health status should accompany a biosecurity plan.

1.3.5 Compartmentalization

When multiple sites are epidemiologically linked through a common health status and biosecurity measures, they can be considered an animal heath compartment. Compartmentalization is an internationally recognized animal health concept which facilitates the trade in animals and food products, and is a tool for disease management in production systems. The concept is not new; it has been applied in many disease control and elimination programs. Compartmentalization is the management and biosecurity measures needed to create a functional separation of subpopulations1. Compartmentalization is considered, together with zoning, a fundamental principle of biosecurity. In this document, compartmentalization is the animal health principle for multi-site production systems where a common biosecurity plan is needed to accommodate system-wide planning. Veterinary actions need to be coordinated between farms; disease risk from one farm should be understood in context of the whole production flow.

1.4 Key Elements of the Standard

1.4.1 Major Sections

The standard is organized in three specific sections:

1) direct route of contamination,

2) indirect route of contamination,

3) on-farm health management and regional considerations.

Within each section, major target outcomes are identified with a statement, a rationale describing the associated risks, and examples of best management practices (BMPs) that could be implemented at the farm to control the identified risks.

The proposed biosecurity BMPs are divided into four sections: segregation (SEG), sanitation (SAN), flow management (FM), and records (REC). FM is further divided into two sections, one to explain application at the farm level and the other at the production system level.

All the BMPs in the four sections (SEG, SAN, FM and REC) are examples specific to each risk factor commonly found in swine operations in Canada. However, the specific practices retained for each farm will have to be optimized and adapted to the pig production model of the farm (intensive, organic, etc.), production type (breeding stock, commercial production, single or multi-site production, etc.), location (distance from other production sites), and production system organization. Not all of the principles may be applied to every major target outcome and the BMPs listed are examples for illustration only. The BMPs in this document are not intended to be comprehensive, they are meant to be examples. More documentation and visual training materials are available at www.cpc-ccp.com/biosecurity/. However, all the principles should be considered when developing best management practices.

A glossary with definitions specific to the text is included in this document.