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The risk of African swine fever in the US and Australia

Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 8.58.33 PM

Source: Global Ag Media/The Pig Site, 8 July 2020, photo credit: Nyman Gibson Miralis

It is being described as the biggest animal disease outbreak the world has ever seen. African swine fever (ASF) has spread widely across Asia since it was first discovered in August 2018.

Official figures from China show the national pig herd had declined by 32% year-on-year by July 20191, with an estimated 100 million pigs lost by the end of 20192. While some of the losses will be directly or indirectly linked to the disease itself, the reduction is also being heavily driven by the vast numbers of producers choosing to slaughter their herds and get out of pig farming before the virus gets to them, writes Daniel Fairweather, Executive Director at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Rabobank had forecasted that, by the end 2019, China’s pig herd would have shrunk by half. Given that it numbered 700 million and accounted for half the world’s pigs before ASF struck in August 2018, the damage the virus is causing is obvious.
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