Can you imagine a world without bacon?
Neither can we.
But that apocalypse may be coming closer to reality. Bacon prices in the United States have spiked to new highs in recent weeks, after a virus never seen in the country before killed off millions of piglets.
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Yeah. That's bad news for baconphiles.
In February, a pound of bacon cost $5.46 on average — a 13 percent increase over last year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The prices for ham and chops have risen too, though not by as much. Some experts believe prices could stay as high as 10 percent above normal into this summer.
One economist estimated 6 million piglets in 27 states had died from porcine epidemic diarrhea, while the US Department of Agriculture estimated a loss of 3 percent of the nation's pig population.
Pork production could decline by up to 7 percent compared to 2013, according to a recent report from Rabobank.
The US pork industry has set aside $1.7 million to research how the disease spreads. Scientists think it traveled from China, though they're not sure how it entered the United States or how it spread to the 27 states.
And it's not likely to end on this side of the pond either.
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Britain's pig farmers were preparing for the worst if the disease reaches their shores.
"It’s impossible to overstate the damage it would cause," veterinarian Derek Armstrong told Metro.
"The evidence from the US is that it’s so infectious, just one infected pig is all it would take to start an epidemic that could kill as much as 10 percent of our national herd."
Let's hope it doesn't come down to that.
Otherwise, how would we continue to produce the bacon bowl?!
— Erin Alexis (@Whisper2Roar) March 22, 2014
Or this beautiful insanity?
— Nicole Wakelin (@NicoleWakelin) April 7, 2014