Pig farmers pessimistic as China tries to talk down swine fever

phys.org | 9/17/2019 | Staff
baileyboo (Posted by) Level 3
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Sun Dawu sighs sadly when asked about the death of thousands of his pigs, killed by the African swine fever outbreak that has been decimating hog herds across China.

"The pig farm was completely destroyed," he says quietly, fanning himself from the heat and flies on his large Hebei province farm outside Beijing.

Process - Pigs - Metres - Feet

"It's a painful process, it's painful to watch them die. We buried all the dead pigs five metres (16 feet) underground."

More than a year since swine fever began to spread across the country, China's pig farmers are wary of replenishing their stock—and the disease could become a political and economic liability for the government.

Month - Stonewalling - Sun - Pictures - Pigs

Frustrated after a month of official stonewalling, Sun posted pictures of the dead pigs on social media platform Weibo—quickly attracting tens of millions of views and forcing the local government to respond.

Pigs that were not killed by the fever were culled.

Months - Herd - Government - Restrictions - Pig

Eight months later, his restocked herd is healthy, but under government restrictions his pig farm is still sealed off.

His livestock is quarantined and can't be sold for consumption until at least the second half of next year.

China - Swine - Herd - Percent - Shortage

China's swine herd is down by about 40 percent, and the shortage has pushed prices of the country's meat staple up by at least half.

A Rabobank report warned China could lose 200 million pigs during the epidemic, and Sun said he believed the number of those affected is higher than official estimates.

Pig - Farmers - Pigs - Pigs

"Some pig farmers dare not declare sick pigs, so they quietly sell off even dead pigs," he said.

By the time swine fever broke out on his farm and killed his herd of 15,000, Sun says "all the pigs of the other farms were dead".

Case - Swine - Fever - Hebei - Agriculture

But only one case of swine fever has been officially reported in Hebei, according to the agriculture ministry—Sun Dawu's farm.

The province was declared free of the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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