Organic Consumers Association

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It's Not If, It’s When': The Deadly Pig Disease Spreading Around the World

Swine fever has made its way into China, home to half the world’s pigs. Farmers in Estonia are already counting the cost

Ott Saareväli, the owner of a pig farm in Lääne county in Estonia, is starting all over again. In September last year, government vets diagnosed an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in a section of the farm where pregnant sows are held ahead of farrowing. It made no difference that the outbreak had been limited to one area – all seven thousand of his pigs would have to be slaughtered immediately.

“We have the strictest biosecurity measures here, and still no one is quite sure how the disease got in – it may have been a truck that wasn’t washed properly after visiting an infected farm,” says Saareväli. “But if you find just one pig, then everything has to go.”

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