| Edinburgh -- The Scottish Government today announced mass culls of hogs in the Borders following an outbreak of African swine fever. The hogs were imported from Spain in May.
Commenting on the incident, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs said, "Quick action is necessary to prevent major damage on our livestock industry. Our actions now will reassure the public to the safety and high quality of Scottish produce. An outbreak of the virus could cost us E150 million per year. In the current economic climate, farmers and indeed the country cannot afford to take financial risks."
Culls are underway with the supervision of the Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland, Deborah Macmillan. Livestock keepers are cooperating fully with the department to minimize the disease risk to the greater population. A veterinary inquiry is underway to trace the source of infected animals.
African swine fever virus is highly contagious among pigs and hogs, though it poses no risk to human beings. No plans for quarantine are yet in place.
Livestock keepers and farmers warn the public will face shortages and higher prices in the marketplace as a result of the culls. Butchers and supermarkets are already reporting shortages of ham, bacon, and other fresh pork products.
"No one wants a repeat of mad cow," said one butcher in Marchmont. "I can't keep stock once people found out about this. You want bacon, you best buy it now."