Germany approves killing more wild boars to be able to sell farmed pigs to China

Two baby boars with stripes on their back, animal news
Young wild boars, photo: Gabor Vereb on Unsplash

The governments of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic will start killing more wild boars for economic reasons, Germany’s agriculture ministry announced on Monday.

This means killing more male, female, pregnant and baby wild pigs to try to control the outbreak of African swine fever, so their factory farmed pigs will be approved to be sold in China again.

Pork buyers often impose import bans on countries where African swine fever has been found, either in farmed pigs or wild pigs. In the case of Germany, the disease has been found in wild boars and since September, China banned pork imports from Germany.

German pork exports to China are worth around 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually, so the government is desperate to start selling to China again. They think killing more wild boars might end the African swine fever outbreak.

The ministry said it’s needed to intensify the hunting of wild boars to fight the outbreak of African swine fever. “Hunting should fundamentally be intensified in order to reduce the wild boar population,” the German ministry said.

There are 845 African swine fever cases confirmed in wild boars in Germany. The disease has been present in Poland since 2014 and the Czech Republic since 2017.

Professor Henryk Okarma and Doctor Katarzyna Bojarska, experts in nature conservation from the Polish Academy of Science, wrote in a report that no scientific study had shown a correlation between boar concentrations and the spread of African swine fever. 

In 2019, hunters in Poland opposed the mass killing of wild boars. “Someone who is sick in the head has decided that all boars should be shot, including pregnant sows and those that already have young,” wrote Marek Porczak, from a hunting association in the south of Poland, in an open letter.

“I appeal to all my colleagues not to take part in this massacre,” he added. “We have to convince our fellow hunters that to take part in this massacre would not only be unworthy of a hunter but also of a man.”

African swine fever is an infectious viral disease in domestic pigs and other pig-like animals. It can be deadly to the animals, but they can also recover from it. So far, the only solution humans have for the virus is mass killing pigs and wild boars.

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