Border fences set up as swine fever fears grow in Europe

African swine fever can be fatal for pigs, leaving farms devastated. Credit: PA

French soldiers have been deployed to protect the country's border from wild boar after several cases of African swine flu were detected in Belgium.

France is the second European nation to take precautions against an outbreak after Denmark ramped up its protections this week against the virus.

In France, 200 hunters and trackers have been tasked with hunting down the animals in a bid to prevent cross-border contamination; 21 wild boar have already been killed by authorities. Workers are now constructing a 1.5 meter high fence in the heavily forested Ardennes region of north-east of France.

Outbreaks of swine fever have previously left livestock in Germany dead, Danish authorities are taking precautions to save the country's pork industry. Credit: AP

Meanwhile, work has started in Denmark on a 44 mile fence along the German border with the intention of protecting the country's extensive pork farming industry, worth in excess of £3.5bn.

Denmark is the only nation in Europe where pigs outnumber humans with 215 pigs for every 100 people living in the country.

Building of the fence was approved in the summer over fears the nation would no longer be able to export pork to non-European countries if there were an outbreak of African swine fever.

Workers erect a fence along the Danish border with Germany. Credit: Frank Cilius/Ritzau Scanpix/AP

African swine fever does not affect humans but can be devastating to farmers with large amounts of livestock. The virus is spread by wild boars roaming through the countryside.

Danish authorities hope the fence will stop infected animals crossing from Germany but conceded waterways and roads would could allow help them head north as they will remain unblocked.