Denmark completes contentious fence along German border
The fence is meant to prevent wild boar from spreading swine fever to Denmark’s lucrative pork industry. But critics say it won’t work and is a symbolic gesture.
Denmark on Monday completes a controversial fence along the border with Germany to protect its giant pork industry from wild boar that could carry African swine fever.
Around 5,000 pig farms export 28 million pigs annually, accounting for half of Danish agricultural exports and 5% of all exports, according to the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.
Critics say it is a waste of money that won’t work against a problem that doesn’t exist, while environmentalists have raised concerns about its impact on the ecosystem. The fence is also symbolic for the Danish right-wing keen on hard borders and keeping migrants out.
Politicians from the right-wing populist Danish People’s Party, for example, have in the past suggested erecting a tall, barbed-wire fence with motion detectors along the German border as Europe witnessed an influx of migrants in recent years.
“You won’t see anyone admit it, but one reason why the fence could get votes in parliament was because of the right-wing in Denmark,” Kristensen said. “The fence won’t keep wild boar out and it won’t keep migrants out, but the symbolic value is immense for the right wing.”
The virus is fatal to pigs but does not kill humans. Scientists have warned that a quarter of the world’s pigs could die from the virus as it spreads through much of Asia.
In Europe, it has been found in several countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. A swine fever outbreak in Denmark would halt all non-EU pork exports.
No swine fever has been detected in Germany, raising questions as to why the fence is even being built.