Wild boar fence to be erected on german-danish border

Wild boar fence to be erected on german-danish border

Denmark begins construction of its controversial wild boar fence on the border with germany on monday.

In the course of the year, the 70-kilometer-long and one-and-a-half-meter-high fence is to be completed, thus covering the entire land border of the two countries. The danish people want to use the fence to prevent german wild boar from entering denmark and spreading african swine fever (ASF) in their country. So far, however, the animal disease has not yet arrived in germany.

The danish government wants to use the construction project primarily to protect the country’s extremely important pig breeding industry. According to the danish government, if ASF were to spread to danish stocks, all exports to non-EU countries would have to be stopped. And that had major economic consequences: according to the ministry of the environment in copenhagen, danish farmers exported pigs for the equivalent of around 4 billion euros in 2016, 1.5 billion euros of which went outside the EU.

Currently, ASF has spread to eastern EU countries, such as the baltic states, poland, the czech republic and hungary. Traps were also found in feral pigs in belgium last fall. The risk of introduction into germany remains high, according to the friedrich loeffler institute (FLI), the federal research institute for animal health.

The danish people’s fear of assp is also shared in germany. Here, too, preparations are being made for the eventuality of an epidemic – for example, by means of training and strict hygiene controls. But there are doubts about the sense of a fence erected as a preventive measure. Schleswig-holstein’s environment and agriculture minister, jan philipp albrecht (grune), stressed that the virus spreads mainly through humans – through animal transports, hunting trips, infected foodstuffs. The FLI also does not consider the transmission of the animal disease via wild boar to be the greatest risk. "The biggest risk factor is humans," says FLI spokeswoman elke reinking.

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