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By late April, China had been hit by 129 African swin

fever outbreaks, affecting all 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the mainland, since the country’s first reported outb

reak in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in August, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

This resulted in more than 1 million pigs being slaughtered to prevent and control the disease, which is deadly to pigs but does no

t affect people. The ministry has called for intensified research and development to expedite the availability of v

accines for disease prevention and control, but admitted difficulties due to the complex nature of the virus.

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, with an a

nnual production of 700 million pigs. Pork accounts for 62 percent of meat con

sumption in China, and sustained outbreaks of African swine fever will cause devastating consequences to the pi

g industry and endanger China’s food security, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said.

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