Italy bans hunting after African swine fever outbreak

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

Italy banned hunting in two northern regions on Thursday after an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF). Four wild boars in Piedmont and Liguria were carrying the disease.

For six months, it’s also forbidden to fish, cycle, hike or do any activity in the area that could involve direct or indirect contact with infected boars, agriculture minister Stefano Patuanelli and health minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement.

The ministers added that it would still be allowed to kill wild boars to control their numbers and monitor the spread of African swine fever. When ASF is discovered in a country, governments worry about the possible economic losses if other countries refuse to buy their meat.

In September 2020, China and other buyers banned imports of German pork after its first ASF case was confirmed in wild boars, causing Germany to lose its position as the number one European pig meat seller to Spain.

ASF is an infectious viral disease that affects wild and farm pigs. The illness can result in death, but animals can also recover. 

Governments worldwide kill entire pig populations when ASF is discovered. The biggest pig killing happened in China, where 100 million pigs were killed after an ASF outbreak. Since then, China has been buying pig meat and breeding pigs from other countries, like Spain and Ireland.

The Animal Reader is a small independent news platform with daily posts about issues affecting animals.

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