China is housing
more than 10,000 pigs at a new 13-storey condominium-style complex, which is
equipped with security cameras, in-house veterinary services and has restricted
access and carefully prepared meals.

The complex
represents a new approach to biosecurity as China looks to keep its pigs, their
main source of meat, safe from viruses like the African swine flu, which killed
nearly half the population of hogs in the country in the two years prior to the
emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.

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complexes, nicknamed “hog hotels”, are built by companies such as Muyuan Foods
and New Hope Group, which have tried to emulate the strict measures taken by
major suppliers in other countries to prevent outbreaks of major diseases.

Rupert Claxton,
a UK-based meat director at consultant Gira, which has been advising farmers
and businesses for two decades, said that China is copying best practices from
Europe and the US to improve biosecurity measures. “In 20 years, it’s done what
the Americans took probably 100 years to do,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying.

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The devastating
swine flu attacks pigs much like how Ebola kills humans. The disease had a
major outbreak in China in 2018, when within a year, it killed nearly half of
the nation’s herd of 400 million pigs, more than the entire output of the US
and Brazil combined. The outbreak led to skyrocketing prices and unprecedented

security has become a top priority for China, since inflation has surged to its
highest levels in eight years with the government having to turn to frozen meat
to mitigate prices.

New agriculture
policies have been instituted to help shift operation to large-scale industries
from backyard farms, which have been the main source of fodder for pigs, including
kitchen scraps and swill – the primary source of African swine flu.