Picture: Brett Sayes

Picture: Brett Sayes

Action against African Swine Fever

The newly erected wild boar fence along the Danish-German border is the subject of much discussion at the moment. The fence is one of the many important initiatives to reduce the risk of Denmark being hit by African Swine Fever.

Wild boar is the major cause of the rapid spread of African Swine Fever in Eastern Europe.

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council (DAFC) are working on every conceivable front to minimise the risk of an outbreak of African Swine Fever in Denmark. According to DAFC, Denmark’s entire exports of pig meat to countries outside the EU would be stopped immediately in the event of an outbreak.

"It would hit us extremely hard. In the first three months alone, we would lose billions of kroner in lost exports. And that wouldn’t be the end of it. It could take a long time before all countries start importing Danish pig meat again, and in the meantime, we would risk losing substantial market shares. We’re talking about huge losses for the industry with significant consequences for the country’s overall economy,” says Jens Munk Ebbesen, Veterinary Director, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

He says that the wild boar fence will reduce the risk of wild boar infected with African Swine Fever from entering Denmark. 

The disease can affect pigs and wild boar and there are no available vaccines or treatment options. The disease cannot infect humans and contact with infected wild boar or pigs does not present any health risk.

"A wild boar fence is not the whole solution, but combined with effective hunting measures, this will have a very significant effect,” says Jens Munk Ebbesen.

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Some 85 per cent of Danish pig production goes to export, and more than 130 countries import Danish pig meat. Pig production creates employment for more than 33,000 people in Denmark and makes an annual contribution to GDP of DKK 18-19 billion.

There are other countries that have erected similar fences, as well as severeal others that are looking into the possibility of erecting fences to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever.