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Where State Vet Stands in PRRS ControversyWhere State Vet Stands in PRRS Controversy

Bret Marsh reactivates swine advisory committee.

Paul Queck 1

February 11, 2011

2 Min Read

Bret Marsh, state veterinarian in charge of the Indiana Board of Animal Health, responded to recent concerns about PRRS virus in swine by reactivating the Swine Health Advisory Committee. "We want the committee to explore whether (our) agency needs to take additional action on PRRS, such as testing pigs or limiting movement," says Marsh.

Marsh says BOAH will undertake additional actions to include surveying Indiana's veterinarians to get a sense of the prevalence of PRRS, and suggestions for state action; begin charting the location of PRRS-infected herds using voluntary reporting and the state's herd premises database; and supporting the pilot Northwest Indiana PRRS Control Project.

Marsh announced these actions after getting industry 'buy-in' during a special January 25 meeting of concerned producers- to include the litigants in the lawsuit, veterinarians, Indiana Board of Animal Health staff, state pork producers association leaders and other industry leaders.

"We want to know what you expect of us," stated Marsh upfront at the meeting. "Right now, PRRS is just a reportable disease in Indiana- and not actionable. Infected herds aren't quarantined and we don't regulate the movement of pigs from infected herds. We are treating the disease as it's treated in all major hog-producing states."

Marsh added that BOAH has the legislative authority to do more- such as quarantine and regulate movement- if that's the direction the state ends up going.

"But we need to think through the ramifications of our ideas before we take action," he adds. "We could quarantine and wreck the whole pork industry in our state if we aren't careful. Indiana's pork industry is so interwoven with other states and Canada that we can't make regulatory decisions in isolation.

"One thing I've learned as a regulator is that before you quarantine, you had better know the criteria that needs to be met to lift the quarantine."

No one at the meeting spoke in favor of state quarantines of PRRS-infected herds, movement restrictions on these herds' pigs or any other kind of regulation. More comments related to desiring considerate neighbors.

You can get full coverage on this story be checking out the March issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine. Look for it reaching your mailbox near the end of the month. It will include more reaction from producers and vets about the PRRS dilemma.

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