December 12, 2019
Germany intensifies efforts to protect border from African swine fever
The country has deployed sniffer dogs, drones and electrified fences in its effort to protect its prospering pork industry from an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak, reported Phys.org.
Germany is Europe's largest exporter of pork. The country produces five million tonnes of swine annually, and half of that is exported to foreign markets. The industry fears that even one positive ASF case will cause chaos in the local swine industry.
Sarah Dhem, Germany's meat products association representative said countries like China could impose a ban on imports from Germany if ASF is discovered in the country. Dhem cites Belgium as one such country which imports have now been banned by China after several reported ASF outbreaks last year.
Sniffer dogs have been deployed at Saarland, close to the borders of France. The dogs are sent to scout for dead wild boars to remove potential ASF carriers as soon as possible.
Meanwhile in Saxony, a region near the border to Poland, drills are being conducted by emergency workers and vets to prepare for an ASF outbreak. Infrared cameras and drones are being used to search for infected wild boar.
And in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, north Germany, an electric fence measuring 50 kilometres is being constructed to prevent wild boars from crossing the border from Poland.
Denmark has already set up its own fence along its 70 kilometre border to Germany.
Since 2014, ASF outbreaks have been reported in Central and Eastern Europe, negatively affecting local swine farms. Sandra Blome, swine fever expert from the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute said ASF has been eliminated everywhere except for Sardinia in Italy since it was first discovered in Europe in 1957. Ports and airports was the main way the disease spread.
Germany has benefitted from the ASF outbreak in China. China has been forced to import meat overseas to supplement dwindling meat supplies, which has increased pork import prices. These prices are expected to double.
Germany's Agriculture Ministry has also called for people not to dispose their food waste at border areas through leaflets, posters and social media.