This represents a significant support for border control operations at Chile’s airport and ports to prevent the entry of diseases such as African swine fever.
On Tuesday, October 13th, the Minister of Agriculture, Ignacio Walker, the National Director of the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), Horacio Bórquez, and the President of ChileCarne, Juan Carlos Domínguez, attended the graduation ceremony of half of the 10 dogs ChileCarne will provide in 2020 to support SAG’s Canine Brigade (BRICAN, in Spanish). This contribution to BRICAN seeks to reinforce security measures at every port of entry preventing pests and diseases such as the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) from entering Chile.
Five of the 10 dogs that comprise the agreement between ChileCarne and SAG for this year, named Bruce, Branco, Agatha, Aukan, and Mila, received their institutional vests after completing a strict training. This, in turn, validates the practical-theoretical knowledge of the Canine Brigade officials to train puppies, thus opening up new entry paths to strengthen this area of the Agricultural and Livestock Service.
During the ceremony, Minister Walker stressed that “the role SAG plays is essential, as an institution renowned all over the world, especially during this pandemic. What SAG does at ports, airports, and border crossings in Patagonia, up north, and around Chile, is protect the plant and animal health asset of the country, and thanks to that, our agriculture creates a million jobs, exports 18 billion dollars, and is deployed all over Chile, thanks to its officials.”
SAG’s National Director stated that “together, we are helping to preserve and improve our livestock industry and protecting the animal health of a country intended to produce food, working on it on an ongoing basis. This is why I would like to welcome these dogs and congratulate those who train them to start working for our country as of today. We hope that this seed we all planted continues to grow, because we need to take care of the country.”
In turn, Juan Carlos Domínguez from ChileCarne added that: “it is a privilege for us to be able to contribute. The health asset of our country does not belong to the State or the private sector; it belongs to all Chileans, and we all have to take care of it. It is very important for the first litter of the Canine Brigade to start working as soon as possible on non-intrusive health inspections at border controls in order to protect our plant and animal health asset.”
Pablo Kurrer, National Manager of the Canine Brigade that is part of SAG’s Border Control Division, who also trained the dogs, explained that the training began in January 2020 and lasted almost eight months. In August, they underwent a series of veterinary tests as part of the strict selection process. They all passed this stage successfully and entered SAG thanks to a donation agreement.
“The other five dogs were selected based on behavior on March 20th, 2020. After continuing their training, they should begin the second veterinary phase during the last week of October. It is expected for them to start working in Chile’s Metropolitan Region during the first half of November 2020, at around 10 months of age,” he explained.
Regarding the training methods, Kurrer explained they are based on playing, using a rolled-up white cloth towel (apport) to introduce the dogs to the scents of interest for SAG’s work.
The collaboration began earlier this year, after ChileCarne signed a contract with a Labrador breeder for work instead of show in late 2019. Later on, after signing the collaboration agreement with SAG, a team of experts from the Canine Brigade used behavioral exercises to select the first five puppies from the kennel. The other five were selected in March 2020.