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Denmark raises fence on German border to prevent swine fever

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Copenhagen (AFP)

In a bid to protect its pork industry, Denmark began building a fence Monday along its border with Germany to keep out wild boar infected with the African swine fever virus.

The 70-kilometre (45-mile) fence is a precautionary measure and expected to be completed in the autumn.

"The fence and our increased efforts to hunt wild boar will break the chain of infection so there is less risk of African swine fever spreading to Denmark," Environment and Food Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said.

There are "11 billion good reasons to do everything we can to prevent African swine fever reaching Denmark," he added.

The virus is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boar that almost always ends in death within days.

It was first spotted in Poland in 2014 when infected wild boar entered from neighbouring Belarus.

Belgium reported its first case in September near the borders with Luxembourg and France, prompting it to carry out a preventive pig slaughter and set up an exclusion zone.

No cases have been reported in Germany.

Denmark is one of Europe's main pork exporters, raising 28 million pigs per year across some 5,000 farms.

Pork accounts for five percent of Danish exports, or 30 billion kroner (four billion euros, $4.5 billion) in 2016.

In France, the army was in early January called in to help hunters cull thousands of wild boar near the Belgian border. A fence is also in the process of being raised.

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