MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, February 16th 2019 - 18:23 UTC

African swine fever scare in Europe; Denmark builds a 70km fence in the border with Germany

Tuesday, January 29th 2019 - 09:31 UTC
Full article
There are fears that African swine fever, which has been found in two dead wild boar in Belgium, could threaten Denmark's huge pig industry There are fears that African swine fever, which has been found in two dead wild boar in Belgium, could threaten Denmark's huge pig industry
Environment minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, said Copenhagen was determined “to do everything we can to prevent African swine fever reaching Denmark” Environment minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, said Copenhagen was determined “to do everything we can to prevent African swine fever reaching Denmark”

Denmark has started building a 70km fence along its border with Germany in an effort to control the migration of wild boar. There are fears that African swine fever, which has been found in two dead wild boars in Belgium, could threaten Denmark's huge pig industry. If the disease spreads, it could jeopardize almost US$ 1.7bn in pork-product exports from Denmark.

But some opponents have questioned how effective the US$12m fence will be. African swine fever is harmless to humans, but can be carried by both wild and domestic pigs. It is usually fatal within days, and there is no cure and no vaccine.

And Denmark produces about 28 million pigs a year. The industry is worth 30bn Danish kroner equivalent to US$ 4.6bn, If there were an outbreak of African swine fever,“ exports to non-EU countries would have to shut down”, the government said.

The Minister for Environment and Food, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, said the government was determined “to do everything we can to prevent African swine fever reaching Denmark. And now we can finally get started on erecting our wild boar fence”.

When completed later this year, the border fence will: Be 1.5ml, and at least 50cm (1.6ft) deep to stop boar burrowing under; Have about 20 gaps at border crossing points and waterways; Have at least one gate every kilometer and steps elsewhere so humans can climb over it Have 20cm square openings every 100m for small animals to move through.

Denmark is also easing hunting restrictions, “allowing wild boar hunts around the clock”, and stepping up fines for livestock transport that has not been properly disinfected. Such hunting measures have also been introduced in other countries such as France and Poland.

Critics say the construction of a fence is political, so that officials can be seen to be taking action, rather than a practical solution.

They point to the large gaps at roads, needed for Europe's open-border Schengen area, and also to wild boar populations that live near the water - and can swim from one country to another.

Poland, animal rights activists try to stop hunters shooting wild boar as the country also moves against swine flu.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!