Sen. Murdock supports increased biosecurity measures to prevent foreign animal disease outbreak

Oklahoma City – Foreign animal diseases are a constant threat to Oklahoma’s livestock. An outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) on American soil would have devastating consequences for agriculture producers and our state’s economy. That’s according to Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, who expressed his complete support for any measures taken to curb foreign animal diseases, like ASF, from entering the country.

“Governor Stitt and Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur have my complete support for any and all measures needed to secure our borders and protect our state from foreign animal diseases,” Murdock said. “The fiscal and emotional impact a virus-like ASF could have would be devastating for our pork producers.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), ASF is a virus that affects both domestic and wild pigs. ASF is an animal disease affecting only pigs with no human health implications. The disease spreads very quickly and has an extremely high fatality rate for any pigs infected. The Dominican Republic, just shy of 2,000 miles from U.S. soil, as well as Haiti, have each recently confirmed cases of ASF. The United States currently remains free of the disease and does not import pork, animal feed, or other pork production-related products from the Dominican Republic or Haiti.

There is no available vaccine or treatment currently for ASF; it can survive on things like shoes and clothing for extended periods and the virus is spreading faster than the speed of research. The only way to stop this disease is to depopulate all affected or exposed swine herds – meaning economic ruin for swine producers if ASF is to hit the U.S.

According to the Oklahoma Pork Council, there are 1,947 Oklahoma farms producing more than 2 million hogs. The council reports 12,100 jobs in pork production in the state, generating $473.3 million in personal income, with $786.4 million added to the gross state product from pork production.

“As African Swine Fever continues to head toward the United States, I encourage pork producers and Americans traveling to take biosecurity measures seriously,” Murdock said.“I cannot overstate the impact this would have on pork producers both in Oklahoma and throughout the U.S. and on the nation’s food supply chain. Should Governor Stitt order Oklahoma National Guard troops to the southern border to prevent potential spread of this virus, I would absolutely support that decision.”