Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture for moving forward with a new vaccine expected to help combat the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has killed millions of pigs and devastated pork producers across the country. USDA announced that it has issued a conditional license for the first vaccine to treat PEDv to aid in control of the virus. These licenses are issued for controlling diseases in animals based on an expectation of efficacy. Stabenow, alongside Sen. Kay Hagan, urged USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack in March to dedicate funding to help develop a vaccine, and for other measures that provide relief to affected producers.
"I applaud USDA for their continued commitment to combatting the spread of this deadly virus, which has impacted pork producers in Michigan and across the country," Stabenow said. "The unmitigated spread of this virus not only threatens pork producers, but also has serious implications for the economy as consumers and businesses will all feel the impact of diminishing swine herds. USDA's efforts to help control the spread of the virus will go a long way in stabilizing the potential fallout for consumers and businesses and I'm pleased they have been aggressive and committed to finding a vaccine."
The unmitigated spread of PEDv poses a serious threat to the agricultural economy as the pork industry supports nearly 550,000 jobs across the country and contributes $34.5 billion to the U.S. economy.