The new year brings many new good resolutions, but also all the problems that we neglected in the previous year. Our relationship with nature and the pressure on ecological systems is one of them. Not surprisingly, and as affirmed two years ago, it is most likely the cause of the current pandemic
On January 7, 2022, in Ovada (Piedmont, Italy), the first case of African Swine Fever (“ASF”) was found on the Italian “continent” . (on the island of Sardinia it has been present since the 1970s but in an endemic and controlled form). The disease was first described in 1921 in Kenya as a fatal acute hemorrhagic fever in domestic pigs. It generates from the contact between farm pigs and wild warthogs. It arrived in 1957, in Portugal, and then spread to the rest of Europe and recently in Asia .
The ASF virus strain recently found in Piedmont presumably arrived from other European countries, through the import of contaminated pork products.
Looking at the numbers by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (“ISTAT”) for 2021, Italy is raising about 8.5 million pigs . If the disease spread among them, they would have to be culled. By trying to make farms more “efficient”, housing more animals in less space, selecting faster growing species and providing enriched animal feed, we create the ideal conditions for an African Swine Fever outbreak. That is because animals have little living space, little genetic variety, and are stuffed with drugs.
At the end of the day, by trying to pull the most out of nature, we risk losing everything. We are practically doing ourselves in.
In 2021, the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (“ISPRA”) reported that farming represents the main threat to biodiversity in Italy, due to Italians’ increasing consumption of animal products (meat, eggs and dairy) from intensive production farms .