Swine fever outbreak forces China to release emergency pork reserve
The Chinese government is releasing its emergency pork in a bid to boost dwindling meat supplies.
BEIJING — As the African swine fever epidemic has already wiped out one third of the pig population in China, the Chinese government is releasing frozen pork from its emergency pork reserves to keep prices down.
The disease is typically spread through bites by infectious ticks, contact through infected animals, contact with objects containing the virus, or by ingesting the meat of infected animals, according to the European Food Safety Authority.
African swine fever is spread by the DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.
The World Organisation for Animal Health states that symptoms of the disease include high fever, redness on the ears, abdomen, and legs, as well as diarrhea.
Farmers are wary of raising live pigs due to the large number of deaths of pigs caused by African swine fever.
To increase the hog population, China's central government has instructed local governments to provide subsidies to larger pig farms to encourage them to raise more pigs.
Some local governments have taken to issuing ration coupons and discounts to counterbalance the rising pork prices.
China's entire frozen pork reserve is around 990,000 tonnes, the South China Morning Post reports, citing an analyst at China Merchant Securities.
If China's pork supply is not enough to meet demand, the country would need to start importing from pig farms in European markets.
China's meat reserve was created in 1996 to help stabilize meat prices during an emergency, according to the South China Morning Post.
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