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FAO: African swine fever must be stopped now

Christian Fernsby |
Pork is the most consumed meat in the world, representing 35.6 percent of global meat consumption.

Topics: FAO    AFRICAN SWINE FEVER   

In recent years, African swine fever (ASF) which may cause up to 100 percent mortality in pigs has become a major crisis for the pork industry, causing massive losses in pig populations and generating drastic economic consequences.

Currently affecting several countries of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe, and with no effective vaccine, the disease is not only impeding animal health and welfare but has detrimental impacts on the livelihoods of farmers.

"Today, 51 countries are affected by African swine fever. Amid the difficult situation posed by COVID-19, ASF continues to spread, intensifying the current health and socioeconomic crises," said Dr Matthew Stone, OIE Deputy Director General for International Standards and Science.

Many countries that are affected by ASF lack sufficient human, financial or technical resources to rapidly detect, respond and contain animal diseases.

The OIE and FAO call on countries and partners to join forces against this deadly pig disease by adoptingthe new Initiative for the Global Control of ASF.

The Initiative for the Global Control of ASF aims to:

1. Improve the capability of countries to control (prevent, respond, eradicate) ASF using OIE International Standards and best practices that are based on the latest science.

2. Establish an effective coordination and cooperation framework for the global control of ASF.

3. Facilitate business continuity ensuring safe production and trade to protect food systems.

The sustained spread of ASF poses a threat to food security, economic and rural development.

The disease represents a barrier to the agricultural sector to reach its full potential, generate employment and alleviate poverty, and acts as a disincentive to investment in the pig sector. Global control of ASF will thus contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goals 1 (No Poverty) and 2 (Zero Hunger).


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