Opinion: Restricting people’s freedom of movement due to African swine fever in Sweden is a breach of EU law

publicerad 12 september 2023
Wild boar (vildsvin) in Sweden. Photo: eAlisa
Wild boar (vildsvin) in Sweden

“Closure of the community does not reduce the spread of infection”. In an open letter to the municipality of Fagersta, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), former chief medical officer Björn Hammarskjöld writes that it is a violation of the constitution and EU law to restrict everyone’s constitutional freedom of movement due to the presence of African swine fever in Fagersta.

By Björn Hammarskjöld, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Strömstad Academy, former senior physician in paediatrics, licentiate of philosophy in biochemistry at Stockholm University. Hammarskjöld has worked for 10 years in the lab with the measles virus and HIV envelope protein. The letter is lightly edited to fit the article format for opinion pieces.

Cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been found in Fagersta and several municipalities and restrictions have been issued in a large area.

The Swedish Board of Agriculture has issued the information:

“African swine fever is a serious viral disease that affects wild boar and pigs, but it does not affect humans or other animal species.”

ArcanumSkolan 2024

It is therefore unconstitutional and a violation of EU law to restrict your, my and everyone else’s constitutional freedom of movement. Just look at all the forestry entrepreneurs who are literally shut down immediately, which will lead to major economic problems not only for the forestry industry but for society as a whole.

It is not proportionate according to our laws and EU law for everyone to be unable to move freely in the forest and land.

Affected municipalities and individuals now have one thing to do: Appeal to the Administrative Court against the County Administrative Board’s, JV’s and SVA’s illegal violation of the constitution against all of us. Otherwise, the apparently completely ignorant unconstitutional authorities have “locked up” people in their homes.

Compare this with what we have known since ancient times and what everyone knew before 2020 and which has now been rediscovered. Infection does not spread between healthy individuals. Wild boars that were apparently healthy when they were shot do not have the infection in their muscles, according to the National Veterinary Institute.

Shutting down society does not reduce the spread of infection, it did not help on the cruise ship Diamond Princess in April 2020 [during the Covid crisis] where 19% of 3500 onboard tested positive in PCR testing and 13 people or 0.35% died. Same with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt with 23% infected and 0,02% deceased among the crew of 5000 people. On these ships, they were not isolated for more than 14 days and the infection subsided.

These terrible lockdowns introduced in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic had a contagion effect, not a protection effect, as much science has shown both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic and have caused huge economic damage all over the world.

What has been shown to work is hand washing i.e. good hygiene and isolating the sick person. Nothing else has a scientifically proven positive effect on reducing the spread of infection. Nothing else that humans have tried has worked.

ASF is not a threat in Africa. There, all pigs are resistant and survive. The immune system of pigs is as good as that of humans and all other animals and if we think about it, there is only one thing to do: follow what has been done in Africa.

A viral infection that only affects a single animal species, in this case, pigs including wild boar. No other species is affected.

We also know that viral infections affecting one species quickly mutate and become milder and kinder. If the virus kills the host organism, there will soon be no host organism for the virus to survive in the future and we will be one species poorer on Earth. We are all working to preserve all species on Earth, now we are going to eradicate one species. Where is the logic?

In Africa, ASF has wiped out those individuals whose immune system was not good enough. And there are several African pig species that are doing just fine even though the virus is circulating there.

Now that we have ASF in Sweden, we just have to wait; not all wild boars will die. Then we will quickly develop a strain of ASF-resistant wild boars.

When ASF enters a farmer’s pig herd, the authorities will order the entire herd to be slaughtered immediately. Both the farmer and society suffer major economic consequences.

If instead the domestic pigs with clear symptoms are slaughtered, the pigs with a sufficiently good immune response will survive and cannot get the infection again. And we quickly develop a population that is resistant to ASF and we don’t have to slaughter a huge number of healthy domestic pigs.

That’s the method we use in human medicine, we don’t kill the population in a city just because one individual got Covid-19.

The economics for the individual farmer and for society are much more positive and we quickly get a population of pigs that are insensitive to the virus.

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