U.S. hog prices have been quite strong this year. Part of the reason for this strength is the large increase in export demand since December 23, 2003, when the U.S. government announced a case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in a Holstein cow imported from Canada. The announcement triggered bans on imports of U.S. beef in many international markets. Canadian beef is also banned in these markets because of BSE, and Australia and New Zealand are unable to provide the volume and type (that is, grain-fed) of beef needed to make up the shortfall. Demand for pork as a substitute meat increased in many of the affected markets.
Clemens, Roxanne L. B.
"Strong U.S. Pork Exports in 2004: The Story Behind the Numbers,"
Iowa Ag Review: Vol. 10
, Article 4.
Available at: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/iowaagreview/vol10/iss4/4