The Danish pig industry has revealed it spends up to 18 million Danish krone (£2.1m) per year on transport management to reduce the risk of an African swine fever (ASF) infection.
ASF is considered a major threat to Danish pig producers, largely due to its presence in locations of export and its highly contagious nature, with the industry continuously under strain to make sure extensive measures are in place to safeguard the country from the disease.
Soren Sondergaard, vice-chairman, of SEGES Pig Research Centre, said that ASF prevention utilised a massive amount of the annual budget but was necessary as an outbreak could cost the sector billions of kroner.
New regulations have been implemented to mitigate the risk, including new regimes which call for trucks to be thoroughly cleaned and held in a restricted area for a certain amount of time between transportation.
Mr Sondergaard said: “We are spending between 15-18 million Danish krone a year on cleaning the trucks, and have hired trained staff to do so, minimising the pressure on the drivers. If trucks are transporting to regions where ASF has been recorded, the vehicle must be cleaned and then left for seven days before returning to Denmark. We are working very hard to prevent an outbreak as it would cause devastation to our industry and economy as a whole.”
In the event of an ASF spread, parts of Denmark would be closed off with immediate effect, in order to ensure the flow of production could still continue in other areas.
As the virus is a noted problem in countries with vast numbers of wild pigs, Mr Sondergaard suggested that culling regimes could be another option to consider, as well as changing the drop off points where live animals are exchanged.
He said: “In risk areas such as Poland, it would be ideal to transport animals to Russia and then arrange collection so our trucks do not have to drive on the infected land. However, this would be expensive and so more safeguarding action needs to be developed.”