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Stories
May 30 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020 – Via Zoom
 
President Brent opened the meeting with his usual toast to Rotary and to Fellowship then proceeded to update everyone on recent activities:
  • Doug Thompson presented his ‘Covid-19 Wear the Mask’ slide show to both the St. Mary’s club and then the District 33 Assembly. 
  • There was a joint meeting last Tuesday of the Board and Foundation Board where the prime discussion concerned budget numbers.  On the Club side a small surplus is expected this year.  There has not been a local dues increase for the past six years despite International raising the dues by $28/person.  An increase of $20/person is expected for our next fiscal year.  More information and discussion to follow at next week’s meeting.
  • Scotch Mist has been officially cancelled this year due to Covid-19.
A Paul Harris Award, the first ever virtual Paul Harris Award, was presented by Robert Ritz to Dr. Doug MacDougald for his many accomplishments, both personal and professional as well as local and international.  Doug, a veterinarian, is the current Chair of the Stratford Perth Community Foundation; he is a leading authority on African Swine Fever; he has been involved in international humanitarian missions and he is a huge supporter of our Dragon Boat Festival.  Well done Doug.
 
Another Dr. Doug, this time Doug Thompson, followed with a Rotary Mask update. Wearing a mask in public is becoming more prevalent and more acceptable especially indoors where people tend to be in closer quarters. Doug has buttons available for Rotarians with the slogan “Wear the Mask, Finish the Task” so that this important message sinks into the public consciousness. The buttons are available for pick-up from Doug’s porch. (A loonie donation is suggested but not necessary.)
 
Doug thanked all members of the committee for their hard work getting this project off the ground - Wendy Wilkinson, Lynne McKone, Katherine Hahn, Ken Nesbitt, Dan Scarborough, Sue Wakelin and Kevin Nonomura.
 
Our guest speaker this week was Doug MacDougald talking about African Swine Fever (ASF) a hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is highly contagious and can spread rapidly through both direct and indirect contact with infected pigs or pig products.  AFS is routinely found in several African countries, it has now spread to Central Asia, China and several European countries. Canada is free from ASF and has stringent controls in place to maintain this status. Currently there is no vaccine or treatment available, however, the disease is not a threat to humans.
 
The disease is spread by ticks but also by pork products that contain the virus.  Canada itself is a large pork producer, on-farm biosecurity is critical to prevent diseases from developing and spreading.  Careful sourcing of animals, products and by-products, including feed and feed ingredients is important.
 
Although Canada does not import pigs or pork by-products that originate from any countries that are not officially recognized as ASF free, there is a lot of illegal meat coming into the country. This needs to be stopped by increased border activities such as sniffer dogs and the imposition of larger fines.
 
There are five main risk pathways in which ASF can be introduced into North America:
  • Lack of strong on-farm biosecurity standards – ASF can be brought onto a farm by people who have visited farms from areas that are affected with ASF. This includes bringing contaminated food, clothing or equipment onto farms.
  • International travelers – Farm workers, foreign exchange students coming from contaminated countries.
  • Small scale producers/pig pet owners – feeding pigs food scraps that are affected with the virus can spread the disease to these animals.
  • Animal Feed – ASF can spread through contaminated feed or feed ingredients.
  • Contact with wild pigs – ASF can be spread directly between sick and healthy pigs. This happens through contact with the blood, tissues, secretions and excretions from infected animals.
African Swine Fever is an on-going concern but with a harmonized approach and cooperation between countries, much like what is needed in the fight with Covid-19, it can be successfully managed.
 
Kevin Silver advised the meeting that the Rotary District Virtual Conference will be held on June 13th and the International Conference will be held virtually from June 20 to 26. All are encouraged to participate. 
 
Respectfully submitted
John D. Wright
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Russell Hampton
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