China: ASF Outbreak is Slowing

The African Swine Fever death toll in China has risen to 1.2 million animals. An Associated Press Report says the infection has begun pushing global pork prices higher, even though a Chinese deputy ag minister says the rate of infection has “significantly slowed.” The official says Chinese authorities are “stepping up” their efforts to contain the African Swine Fever outbreak but describes the situation as “complicated and grim.” The Chinese government is reportedly working on a vaccine, but that work has a long way to go yet. Pork is a big part of the overall Chinese diet, with the country producing and consuming two-thirds of the world’s pigs. Major Chinese cities are short on pork because bans were imposed on shipping pigs out of infected areas since August. Importers are said to be filling the demand by bringing in pigs from abroad, pushing up prices in Asia and Europe. The AP quotes the Chinese ag minister as saying it’s an indisputable fact that the outbreak of swine fever in China has significantly slowed. However, he also admitted that some local authorities have failed to report or contain outbreaks. “We can’t promise that it never happens,” he admitted, “but if it does, we will punish it strictly and immediately.”