Denmark to construct 70-kilometre border fence to combat swine fever

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Denmark’s Parliament on Monday approved the construction of a 70-kilometre fence on the border with Germany as part of efforts to combat the threat of African swine fever often carried by wild boar.

The fever is not dangerous to humans, but is almost always fatal in pigs yet there is no vaccine.

“If African swine fever reaches Denmark, we calculate that exports worth 1.7 billion dollars would be immediately halted,’’ Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, Danish minister for environment and food, said in a statement.

He was referring to exports of pigs and pork to countries outside the European Union that would be severely restricted if there was an outbreak of African swine fever in the Scandinavian country.

Danish exports of pigs and pork were in 2016 worth a total of about 30 billion kroner.

The disease occurred in Eastern Europe, and was recently reported in the Czech Republic.

Germany has also stepped up hunting of wild boar.

The fence was envisaged to be 1.5 metres high and extend 0.5 metres underground to stop the wild boar crossing.

It would run from the North Sea coast to the Flensburg Fjord.

Construction was due to commence after investigations of natural, environmental and cultural conditions are completed later this year.

In addition to erecting the fence, other measures included: erecting cattle grids on roads and paths leading into Germany; hiking fines for insufficient disinfection of vehicles transporting livestock; and easing wild boar hunting regulations.

Hunting would be allowed round the clock.

Bilkisu Pai