September 14, 2018
African swine fever hits Belgium
Europe's African swine fever (ASF) crisis escalated drastically when Belgium confirmed the disease had spread to the west of EU on Thursday.
The arrival of the epidemic is feared by many in the pork industry, partly because it would possibly be followed by import bans from key non-EU markets.
According to Belgium's food safety agency AFSCA, it had detected two boars carrying ASF around the southern village of Etalle.
In immediate response, France announced a warning of the high economic stakes of the outbreak in Belgian and had called on regional officials to ramp up controls to stop the disease from spreading across the border.
The Belgian authorities said they were working at various levels of government to prevent the possible spread of the disease to pig farms.
When it was discovered at Europe's second-largest farm in Romania in late August, authorities culled about 140,000 pigs.
Germany has adopted extraordinary measures to contain the disease, even seeking experts to help advise eastern countries on how best to stop the disease from spreading.
Denmark announced plans to build a fence along its border with Germany to keep African swine fever out, despite its southern neighbour not recording any cases so far.
"In case of an outbreak of African swine fever, the export to non-EU countries will shut down," Danish Environment and Food Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said in June.