The rapid spread of the recent coronavirus (Covid-19) affects or has affected the daily life of virtually everybody on the planet. That also means that we feel it too at the editorial desk of Pig Progress, writes editor Vincent ter Beek.
Who would have thought? Just when you think the global swine industry has faced a health crisis that hasn’t had its equal in history with African Swine Fever, at that moment a new virus pops up taking over global news headlines, but for entirely different reasons.
Worldwide, humans decided it was time to standstill in order to keep the effects of Covid-19 as small as possible. And yes, that involves cancelling pig events as well. The indirect effects of those measures are only bit by bit protruding. Around the world, many countries announced that restaurants and bars had to be closed, gatherings had to be cancelled and people were discouraged to get together. No doubt that will have a knock-on effect on the amount of pork consumed.
Empty halls at Bangkok’s BITEC centre – probably pretty much how it looks this week in absence of Victam 2020. Photo: Shutterstock
International pig events cancelled
It also means that for me, international pig journalist, things have changed. Writing this blog, I was supposed to be in South East Asia to attend e.g. the Victam 2020 – and even host a Pig Progressside seminar. Hotel booked, flights arranged, interesting visits planned. But alas, as time moved on, Covid-19 ate all bits of perspective away. What one day seemed just a possibility, was the next completely impossible.
Even when Victam 2020 was postponed, I still hoped to travel out. Eventually, 10 days prior to my intended journey to Asia I finally cancelled my booking, with a heavy heart – was I making the right decision? By the time I should’ve travelled, however, not only my company had banned international travel, also the Netherlands’ foreign office advised against going abroad and when I write this, no effort is spared to get all fellow countrymen back to their homes.
Even working from the home office does not mean editors can work without being disturbed. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Pig Progress will be available digitally
With international travel being so limited (and editors being told to stick to home offices where cats suddenly decide to sit on the keyboard), the justified question arose whether or not it would make sense to send out print copies of the upcoming edition of Pig Progress. The answer was: it wouldn’t. Why bother going to great lengths to try to print copies of the magazines when distribution is going to be a major problem?
For that reason, the 3rd edition of Pig Progress will be the available to read digitally only – in line with all other online initiatives that are being developed. With plenty of ‘noise’, we shall of course make sure that no reader will miss that edition, which should be on your screen in about 2 weeks.
Covid-19 and interesting pig theories
Interestingly, the Covid-19 crisis also offers new insights and thoughts. Particularly interesting was a tweet by Prof Chris Elliott, attached to the Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. He cleverly connected Covid-19 with African Swine Fever.
Intriguing research material for future historians, I would say.
Stay up-to-date with Covid-19 impact on pig production
No standstill for pig production
For now, the one thing Covid-19 hasn’t managed to cause is empty shelves in supermarkets. Governments acknowledge that certain industries are too essential to allow to come to a standstill.
So where a large part of the global community stayed at home as much as possible, logged in from their own desks or entertained grounded kids – the care for animals continued, by farmers and veterinarians, by meatpackers and feed delivery companies and by breeders and consultants. You, dear reader, kept the world spinning when others had to stop. Talking about ‘essential jobs’!