fbpx
Sunday, September 27th, 2020
Home » Trade » “This is the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had on the planet”

“This is the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had on the planet”

PortandTerminal.com, June 17, 2019

Rain and flooding this spring, as well as President Trump’s trade war with China, aren’t the only forces hurting the Midwest’s corn and soybean farmers. A deadly, highly contagious disease called African swine fever is sweeping through China’s hog farms, literally killing demand for American feed

An outbreak of African swine fever, a highly contagious disease that’s been called “pig Ebola,” is ravaging Asia’s pig industry with no signs of letting up.

The current outbreak of the virus, which kills almost all animals it infects, began in China in August. Since then, some 22 percent of the country’s pig herd has been lost to the disease and to culling, Christine McCracken, an animal protein expert at Rabobank.

This is the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had on the planet

China is home to over 50 percent of the world’s pig herd—and feeding nearly half a billion pigs for slaughter every year requires it to import two-thirds of all globally traded soybeans. Soybean exports to China were once America’s number one export to China pre-trade war and disease outbreak.

Officials in China have tried in vain to get the outbreak under control to protect the country’s roughly 440 million pigs. So far, it says it has culled 1.2 million pigs, putting thousands of small producers out of business.

A nearly-empty barn at a pig farm in Jiangjiaqiao village in northern China’s Hebei province, where swine fever is taking its toll.Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo

“This is the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had on the planet,” said Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at City University of Hong Kong and expert on African swine fever. “It makes the foot and mouth disease and BSE outbreaks pale in comparison to the damage that is being done. And we have no way to stop it from spreading.”

The epidemic is spreading

Infected pigs are buried at a quarantined location in Vietnam

The epidemic has spread like wildfire across Asia, causing growing devastation to the pig farmers of Vietnam and Cambodia and putting Thailand, Asia’s second-biggest pork producer, on “red alert”. Cases have increased in Mongolia, North Korea and Hong Kong in recent weeks, while South Korea is blood testing pigs at the border.

“This is the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had on the planet,” said Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at City University of Hong Kong and expert on African swine fever. “It makes the foot and mouth disease and BSE outbreaks pale in comparison to the damage that is being done. And we have no way to stop it from spreading.”

Impact on American farmers

The implications of the outbreak are already being felt beyond Asia. Global pork prices have risen by almost 40%, and long term it is likely to lead to more pork imports from Europe and America to meet demand, which will also push up global meat prices. Market analyst Rabobank said global pork supplies could fall by 8%.

The world and Vietnam have never faced such an extremely dangerous, difficult, complicated and expensive epidemic like this

Soybean farmers in America, who are already reeling from the Trump administration’s trade war with China and flooding, are being hit hard by the further reduction in demand for their soybean feedstock.

Ports as well are feeling the impact. The Northwest Seaport Alliance has seen its soybean exports drop by 69% in 2018 due to the epidemic and the trade war with China.

Related articles

Copyright © 2019 PortandTerminal.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Check Also

Aerial view of container yard at port. ship. cranes. containers

U.S. imports surge as pandemic worries have retailers stockpiling

REUTERS, SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles-based maker of Exploding Kittens …

Canadian Throne Speech. Flag. People wearing masks. Throne.

Trudeau: Priority right now is fighting the pandemic and saving lives

BLOOMBERG, SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 In the short term, Canada will “do whatever it takes, using …