Spain hit by swine fever : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK

Spain hit by swine fever

The pork industry is vital in Spain

By Flora Botsford in Madrid The Spanish Government has restricted the movement of pigs in a bid to prevent the spread of swine fever.

So far six cases of the highly infectious disease have been confirmed and tests are being carried out to determine the origin of the disease.

EU directives on the prevention and management of a swine fever outbreak have so far led to the slaughter of 18,000 pigs, a major blow to Spanish farmers.

At a meeting in Brussels, the Spanish Agriculture Minister, Miguel Arias Canete, announced that restrictions were being placed on three regions - Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon - preventing the movement of pigs.

Coming hard on the heels of the BSE crisis and foot-and-mouth disease, this is the latest animal health scare to confront the European Union.

Intensive farming

The pork industry is a vital one for the country, which has only recently begun to recover from an export ban imposed after an earlier outbreak in 1997.

Thousands of pigs have already been slaughtered Sales of popular Spanish food such as jamon, or chorizo, the spicy pork sausage, could be affected, and the EU is likely to face demands for compensation.

Britain suffered the most recent outbreak last year, when 75,000 pigs suspected of contact with carriers were killed and 200,000 were slaughtered to comply with new rules on overcrowding.

In 1997 the Netherlands and Belgium were also affected and the following year outbreaks were confirmed in Germany and Italy.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation has blamed over-intensive farming methods and the removal of trade barriers, allowing infected pigs to be transported across borders, bringing the disease with them.

-- Martin Thompson (, June 19, 2001

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