Italy is planning to kill numerous wild boars in order to save the “Prosciutto di Parma”. Environmentalists and celebrities are protesting against the plan.

According to reports in the Berliner Morgenpost, the Italian government is planning drastic measures to preserve one of its most famous culinary traditions, Prosciutto di Parma. Because of African swine fever, which is spreading more and more among wild boars, the government is planning to mass kill the wild animals. This is primarily intended to protect the breeding pigs that are used for the production of the famous Parma ham.

The impact of a swine fever epidemic on the Parma ham industry would be immense. With almost 2.5 million legs of ham exported last year, worth 260 million euros, the threat to Prosciutto di Parma is a serious economic concern.

According to the “Berliner Morgenpost”, the government is therefore planning to use up to 3.5 million euros to contain the epidemic by catching, culling and disposing of wild boars.

However, the announced measures are controversial. Protests have already flared in Tuscany, where environmentalists and prominent figures, including Italian television stars, artists and intellectuals, have launched a campaign against the killing plans. But swine fever also has an impact on an international level. Some countries, including most recently Canada, have already blocked imports of Parma ham because of the disease.

Even the export of another Italian speciality, San Daniele ham, is at risk. Manlio Palei, the regional director of the Office for Prevention, Food Safety, Public Health and Veterinary Affairs in Friuli, warned: “If African swine fever penetrates the herds, we will be forced to close the meat trade, and with it the San Daniele ham trade, for a year.”

To protect livestock breeders, the government in Rome is providing 25 million euros in compensation. However, it makes it clear that further action at European and international level is needed to overcome trade blockades from third countries. Negotiations are necessary, as already initiated by the Ministry of Health with Japan in May 2023, reports the “Berliner Morgenpost”.

However, wild boars are not the only wild animals Italy is currently struggling with. Just recently, a bear in Italy chased a hiker for several minutes, sometimes coming dangerously close to him.

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