Beagles have new gig at U.S. Customs guarding against spread of swine fever

U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to deploy 60 beagles to international airports, ports and border crossings to sniff out travelers coming into the country with hidden pork products from regions experiencing African swine fever outbreaks.  The virus — deadly to pigs, but not transmittable to humans — has no vaccine or treatment.

The dogs are part of the agency’s “Beagle Brigade,” which has patrolled ports of entry since the 1980s to protect the nation’s agricultural sector from foreign animal diseases.

The agency said it chose beagles because they have a keen sense of smell and a high food drive — they want to eat even when not hungry.

It will take a couple of years for the agency to fully train and deploy the new dogs… But the existing beagles already are finding hidden pork.  In March of this year, the beagle team stopped an attempt to smuggle 1 million pounds of pork from China into the United States.


Source: UPI [excerpt]


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