By Josh Loeb
The African swine fever (ASF) epidemic is the biggest ever threat to commercial piggeries, with around a quarter of the world’s pigs expected to die as a direct or indirect result of the viral disease.
That was the stark assessment delivered by Mark Schipp, president of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), at a press conference in Australia last week.
Schipp, who is also Australia’s chief veterinary officer, added that food shortages, along with shortages of some products made from pigs (such as the blood-thinner heparin) could result in parts of the world because of dramatic reductions in the pig population.
Schipp’s comments, widely reported by news agencies and the international media, came as his OIE colleague Monique Eloit, the organisation’s director general, warned that ASF is a global threat. She also said no country should consider itself immune to the disease.
The ASF virus,...