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African swine fever threatens to take over the pig farms in Rome.



By: Alicia Chen


Wild boars are roaming the streets of Rome, taking baths in water fountains, and feeding off junk from trashcans. Not only are these wild animals disrupting the daily lives and order of the capital of Italy, but they are also spreading a deadly swine disease.


African swine disease is completely harmless to us humans and our household pets but can be deadly to pigs. When a pig catches this disease, the chance of them surviving is only 2 percent.


This is spreading to pig farms in Rome, causing problems with other countries buying their pork.


Angelo Ferrari, an expert hired by the government to help get the boar crisis in control says, “I don’t see the eradication of the disease is a possibility, unless you bring about a strong reduction of the [boar] population.”


The spike of the boar population is formed by a series of different causes, such as the lack of large predators and their high reproduction rates. Even though these boars don’t usually attack humans, Shakira (famous pop singer) said that she and her son were “robbed” by some wild boars of her bag containing her phone.


The boar population has risen so much that even predators, such as wolves can’t control them anymore.


Right now, officials are acting by separating boars and isolating a pack of them in a special fenced off area. This way, if a boar has the swine disease, it can’t spread to commercially raised pigs outside of the barrier. It’s a quick and easy way to reduce the population of the wild boars.


The threat of the disease to pig farms has become so serious that by the end of May, farmers were wearing boar masks and mocking them by getting down on all fours and chanting “The boar needs to be stopped!”


More than 14,000 pigs have been culled, but the local anti-hunting league does not support these decisions at all. “Killing them should only be a last resort,” says Robert Vecchio, the head of a local anti-hunting league. He thinks that the boars should be sterilized and put back in the wild.


Even though government officials despise these boars and want them dead, some boars have made friends with people, and have found a way to become the neighborhood pet.

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