In yet another bizarre development, China is said to have taken biosecurity to a new level. Going by a report in Bloomberg, more than 10,000 pigs have been kept in an ondominium-style complex in a luxurious 13-storey building in Southern China. The report further states the building does not grant access to all, in addition to having security cameras, in-house veterinary services and carefully prepared meals.
This storage for pigs have been named ‘hog hotels’ and are being built by companies, including Muyuan Foods and New Hope Group.
The seemingly luxurious conditions represent a state-of-the-art approach to biosecurity in which pigs — the main source of meat in China — are shielded from viruses, including the devastating African swine fever.
The report stated China is copying best practices from Europe and the US to close its biosecurity gap, said Rupert Claxton, the UK-based meat director at consultant Gira, who has been providing advice to farmers and businesses for two decades.
“In 20 years, it’s done what the Americans took probably 100 years to do,” he said.
In July this year, several media reports said a large number of pigs are dying from African swine fever in China’s top hog-producing province, raising concerns it could spread further across the south and slow China’s pork production recovery.
The deadly African swine fever virus wiped out around half of China’s huge pig herd during 2018 and 2019 but the country rapidly rebuilt much of the lost stock last year.
But there have been fresh outbreaks in northern China this year, and there are more strains of the virus circulating.
Now, southwestern Sichuan province, which produced 48.5 million hogs for slaughter last year, about 9 per cent of the country’s total, is also seeing a resurgence of the virus.