Virus killing millions of baby pigs and raising pork prices

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) A deadly virus that is decimating hog breeding operations in more than two dozen states has farmers limiting visitors to their farms and disinfecting all equipment, even trucks. PED or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea attacks very young pigs still at the suckling stage. There is no known cure.

The virus is not a threat to food safety, but it will hit consumers at the supermarket as pork production drops this summer and prices rise. At least five million piglets have already died in the past year.

Breeders Freddie Grohmann of Cedar Ridge Farms near Red Bud, IL has kept his operation virus free. But it is impacting his export business to China. 'China is going to hold off on letting live animals come into China until the two governments can decide a testing protocol,' he said Thursday.

Tony Clayton, president of Clayton Agri-Marketing Inc., a Missouri based livestock exporter, has contracts to ship four thousand live breeding hogs to China that are on hold right now. Not every country is barring American piglets. Clayton said he just returned from escorting a shipment of piglets to the Philippines.

'This is making everyone take a close look at their bio-security, even when they go to town,' he said. Hog breeding farm employees are being asked to shower, change into new clothing and shower when they leave. Boots and car floor mats can carry the virus and that may have been the way the disease spread through the U.S. Agricultural experts believe it came from China.

Veterinarian Dr. Dwight Boehm is watching Grohmann`s livestock closely. 'We`re not seeing any clinical signs of the diarrhea,' he said.

Warm weather may help curtail the virus, however the damage to pork supplies in the pipeline has already been done and consumers could see a 30% jump in pork prices this summer.

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8 comments

  • ASHinSTL

    Thanks god! So busy with this that you couldn’t find time to help with the AIDS or cancer but decided to make time to give pigs mud butt? Keep up the great work, lil buddy!

  • Sere

    There’s no money in curing Cancer or Aids, just like there’s no money in building a car that lasts 100 years; although we have plenty of advanced technology to make it happen. They make money for repairs, medications, donations, treatments, etc. Won’t happen in this lifetime.

    • ASHinSTL

      So, your proposal is what exactly?

      Process meat that is destined for China in the US at a much higher cost and then ship unfrozen pork out of our ports and expect China to buy spoiled pork when it arrives in theirs?

      OR

      Process the meat and freeze the meat here and keep it frozen on the trip to China, all of which adds ridiculously to the costs and thereby taking away at the vast majority of profit the farmers stand to gain by exporting their surplus livestock?

      You do realize that the pork is to be consumed in China, right? Its not like they are shipping it to China to be processed and then shipping it back here for consumption in the US. You are aware that the bacon you eat for breakfast does not make the equivalent of a trip around the entire planet prior to you getting to enjoy its bacony goodness, right?

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