African Swine Fever Awareness in the Internet Media in Poland – exploratory review
Aim. African Swine Fever (ASF) is a viral infection in domestic pigs and wild boars.
It is estimated that ASF causes more than one billion EUR losses in Eastern Europe every
year. In Poland, after initial outbreaks in 2014, almost 90% of pig farms stopped their production
(in regions affected up to June 2017) due to restrictions (Jarynowski, Belk, 2019). In
November 2019, the ASF virus has been confi rmed in a wild boar in the Wschowa poviat,
just 30 km from the pig production hub in Wielkopolska (the so-called “swine district”).
Recent rapid propagation of the ASF from East to West of Europe encouraged us to prepare
analysis of the Internet media awareness in Poland refl ecting the above mentioned social
Methods. Using computational techniques we analyse agents and events in the Internet
media. The intensive control measures against ASF in the European Union signifi cantly
transform biosecurity, trade, sanitary, environmental regulations and ethical standards
causing protests of various social groups of interest: 1) farmers (who are not ready to apply
e-methodology 2019 (6) 101
biosecurity measures), 2) ecologists (who do not agree with governmental policy of wild
boar depopulation) and 3) hunters with public administration (that have to take control on
wild boar population).
Results. In particular, we have reviewed possible ways of public opinion’s infl uence
using Twitter, Facebook and mainstream websites’s data of selected groups of interest. We
identify two main frames of events: 1) Culling of wild boar to minimize ASF spread and the
risk of transmission to domestic pigs caused massive protest among ecological associations
in Poland, due to opposition of some experts in beginning of 2019; 2) jump of the virus to
Western Poland caused intensive discussion and lobbying of farmers postulates at the turn
Conclusions. We claim that reliable analysis of the perception of the ASF is important
to understand possible confl icts and issues. We have provided analysis of usability of available
Internet resources as Secondary Data Digital Footprints.
Key words: The Internet media, Social Media, Risk perception, African Swine Fever,
ASF, Digital traces, Veterinary Public Health.