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         Pigs are being culled and pork prices are rising as African swine fever continues to spread

         Bill Tatt: African Swine Fever big threat to livestock industry



Pigs are being culled and pork prices are rising as African swine fever continues to spread


By Ellen Duffy, ABC News Australia

Oct 4, 2019


More than a quarter of the world's pigs have been wiped out and there is little authorities can do about it.


African swine fever is spreading across the world and has Australia on high alert amid fears the arrival of the disease is inevitable.


But even without it entering Australia, it's already having an effect on prices both for farmers and consumers.


Here's what we know.


African swine fever?


African swine fever is a highly infectious and contagious disease that's been spreading throughout pig populations worldwide.


Experts say the disease has wiped out an estimated 25 per cent of the world's pig population.


The fever has been reported in around 50 countries, including China, Belgium, Slovakia, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.


The spread of the disease has now reached Timor Leste, a nation less than 700 kilometres from Darwin, posing an increased risk to Australia.


Will swine fever make me sick?


No. Unlike swine flu, African swine fever doesn't pose a threat to human health it's only harmful to pigs.


While people can't contract swine fever, they can spread it.


It's not to be confused with swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus.


That virus is different and can infect humans' noses, throats and lungs and can be spread when someone coughs or sneezes.


How do pigs get it?


African swine fever is spread when pigs come into contact with contaminated pigs, pork products, feed, ticks, and infected material such as syringes.


The disease can be found in pork products even if they've been cooked or frozen.


It can also be transmitted via humans wearing contaminated clothing and boots into an area where uninfected pigs are kept, resulting in infection.


The disease has a 100 per cent mortality rate in pigs.


Will it come to Australia? ...


What does African swine fever mean for food prices? ...


What happens if it gets into Australia? ...


Can African swine fever be stopped? ... 


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Bill Tatt: African Swine Fever big threat to livestock industry


Bill Tatt, Western Magazine (Australia)

October 4 2019


As mentioned in a previous column one of the biggest threats currently to our industry other than the drought which shows no signs of abating would be the arrival on our shores of African Swine Fever.


The latest outbreak has now been confirmed in East Timor bringing the number to 10 countries in Asia alone, the disease is also rampant access parts of Europe and Africa.


The Chinese domestic consumers have seen the price of pork at sale outlets rise some 62 per cent since the beginning of June.


This shortage of protein in China has helped Australian beef exporters to the tune of a 67 per cent rise in exports for the calendar year until the end of August.


Other big winners into this lucrative market include Brazil and Argentina. America as the world's second biggest producer of pig meats should be able to fill much of the shortfall.


Much will depend on trade negotiation between the two superpowers...


Back to China and the impact it is having on Australia's beef exporting trajectory.


In July for the very first time China became the number one destination for our exports of beef surpassing both the United States and Japan in taking 28,214 tonnes of chilled and frozen beef, up 25 per cent on the previous best record month.


The outbreak of Swine fever has obviously helped our exporters but there are also other factors in play.


Chinese authorities have clamped down on the illegal 'grey beef trade' which is the arrival of cattle and buffalo through Vietnam and Hong Kong without any documentation.


The use in the Chinese middle class who have far greater expectations in relation to their protein intake than the previous generations has also acted as a trigger to increased demand...