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Denmark to Build Border Fence to Protect Pigs

FILE - Wild boars are seen in a forest in Berlin's Tegel district, April 5, 2016.
FILE - Wild boars are seen in a forest in Berlin's Tegel district, April 5, 2016.

Denmark's government has announced that it will build a 68-kilometer fence along the country's southern border to protect prime Danish pigs from swine fever.

The government says the fence will help keep out German wild boar that could be infected with a deadly African swine fever.

Officials say an outbreak of swine fever in Denmark would force the country to temporarily stop all pork exports. Denmark Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen says the country's exports of pork outside the European Union are worth $1.8 billion annually.

African swine fever is harmless to humans but fatal to farm pigs.

Other countries in the region are also considering how to counter the spread of swine fever, with Germany allowing hunters to hunt wild boar year around.

Denmark's government says the fence will be 1.5 meters tall and will be 50 centimeters deep to prevent boars from burrowing underneath. Officials say roads between Denmark and Germany will not be affected by the fence.

Critics say the fence will do little to keep wild boar out of Denmark and will harm other species of animals, such as foxes and deer. Advocates say the fence is a necessary precaution to protect Denmark's billion-dollar pig industry from the catastrophic effects of an outbreak.

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