Massive Disruptions in Global Swine Industry

Some big changes have occurred recently in the global swine industry. An epidemic of highly contagious swine influenza, a lethal pig disease that some people have compared to Ebola in humans, is presently sweeping through Eastern Europe. Concern exists that it may soon reach other countries. The disease broke out in Georgia, then rapidly spread to Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. Some critics complain open and unchecked EU borders may be contributing to the rapid spread. Symptoms reportedly do not appear in swine until five to ten days following infection. 

In the United States, consolidation is occurring within the pork industry to a much greater extent than during previous years. In 2013, a large Chinese agribusiness, Shuanghui International Holdings, Limited, the largest swine packing company in China, purchased Smithfield Foods, a major U.S. pork producer for an estimated $4.72 billion dollars. Now called the WH Group, the privately held company is currently the largest swine agribusiness in the world. It reportedly maintains facilities in 26 U.S. states, ten EU nations and Mexico. It employees some 46,000 people and earns revenues estimated to approach $13 billion annually.

The state legislature in Nebraska, a state responsible for both extensive cattle and swine production, is presently considering amendments to state laws to allow large swine producers to expand their operations into additional counties within the state. Some beef producing organizations oppose the exemption provisions.

Health experts like researchers at the Amen Clinic suggest cutting pork from your diet while the risk is live.

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