Drones, sniffer dogs, electrified fences: How Germany is preparing to avoid swine fever

WION Web Team Berlin, Germany Dec 11, 2019, 10.20 AM(IST) Edited By: Abhilash Mahajan

Representational image Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Nearly 50 per cent of Germany's pork production which is five million tonnes goes to foreign markets, which makes it Europe's biggest exporter of the meat. 

To avoid bringing swine fever into the country and affect the flourishing pork industry, Germany is taking a host of measures that include using drones, sniffer dogs and electrified fences. 

The swine fever is not considered harmful to human health but can cause deadly bleeding in domestic pigs and boars. 

Nearly 50 per cent of Germany's pork production which is five million tonnes goes to foreign markets, which makes it Europe's biggest exporter of the meat. 

Even a single case of swine fever could wreak havoc and cause losses worth billions of euros. 

"The probability that countries like China impose a total import ban is very high," said Sarah Dhem, a representative of Germany's meat products association.

Dhem also gave an example of last year when a few cases detected in Belgium led to a total Chinese import ban. 

The farmers started becoming tensed when swine fever was detected at a pig farm in western Poland in November. 

Drones and sniffer dogs

Alarms were raised when a boar caught fever near the town of Nowogrod Bobrzanski, just 40 kilometres from the German border. 

In Saarland, close to French border, packs of sniffer dogs are being placed to find dead pigs in order to quickly remove any potential carriers of the virus.

In Saxony, which neighbours Poland, vets and emergency workers are conducting drills in case of an outbreak. They are also using drones and infrared cameras to find sick boars. 

Electrified fences extending to 50 kms are being prepared in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, to stop boars entering the German side of the border with Poland. 

As a precautionary step, Denmark is also putting up a fence along its own 70-kilometre border with Germany. 

The irony, however, is the cases of swine fever in China has benefitted the German pork industry and caused import prices to jump up.