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Too Close for Comfort…

It’s back… and too close for comfort.

African swine fever (ASF) has reared its ugly head in the Dominican Republic.

Refresher: While this is the first instance of ASF in the Americas in 40 years, you’ll recall China’s original ASF outbreak in 2018. China, the world’s largest hog producer, had to destroy half its herd within a year of detection, and the disease spread globally at that time.

Fortunately, North America was spared.

But now things are a bit dicier…

The Dominican Republic is restricting hog shipments and has deployed the military to contain the spread of the disease. Neighboring countries have closed their borders to Dominican pork and increased airline restrictions on passengers bringing products that could carry the virus. Even airline garbage is being checked and properly disposed of to ensure the virus does not spread outside of the Dominican Republic.

The only remedy? Killing the hogs in the affected areas, which means losses of $180M.

Banning Dominican pork is nothing new for the U.S. It banned Dominican pork products back when the island nation battled classical swine fever between 1978 and 1980. 192K Dominican hogs were destroyed during that period.

What lies ahead: The USDA will assist the DR with testing support and mitigation measures.