June 10, 2014

Russia bans imports of live pigs from six countries


The Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor says that Russia has banned imports of live pigs from six countries, citing fears over the introduction of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) to the country.

The countries affected were the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and South Africa. Rosselkhoznadzor said that Russia enacted temporary restrictions on imports of breeders and commercial pigs, as well as untreated blood products used in food processing.

The move is welcomed by some of Russia's largest meat companies. Sergei Mikhailov, general director of Cherkizovo, said, "Large agricultural holdings consider the ban of Rosselkhoznadzor justified. This is the right ban, because if even one car with pigs with this virus enters Russia, the consequences will be extremely bad."

Maxim Basov, CEO of RusAgro, shared the view, "We fully support the ban. America is now experiencing hard times, and it will be very difficult for them to fight this disease."

Despite the support from large pork processors, it is not without opposition. Sergey Yushin, head of the National Meat Association, said, "Canada was the largest and in fact single supplier of breeding pigs for the Russian business after the ban of importation of animals from the European Union because of African swine fever in 2013."

"This creates difficulties for those pig producers who planned to colonise their farms with foreign breeding animals, and in the future it will be an obstacle for the growth of livestock," Yushin added.

Roman Hrinchenko from the Russian analytical agency Investkafe believes that the Russian government's desire to support domestic producers is the true cause for the ban on US live pigs.

"The political and economic aspects of the ban had a more significant impact on the decision than a real threat," Hrinchenko said.