Former president: Estonia under-producing in pork, could lead in cryonics

Arnold Rüütel.
Arnold Rüütel. Source: Aurelia Minev/ERR

Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Honorary President Arnold Rüütel recently criticised the capacity of Estonian pork production.

''There is something wrong with our agricultural policy if we cannot produce as much pork in Estonia as we consume,'' said Mr Rüütel, 90, a former president of Estonia, according to local weekly Harju Elu.

Speaking at the Keila Cultural Centre on Saturday, Mr Rüütel also listed Estonia's present day woes as including its high incidence of HIV and AIDS, amongst the highest in Europe, and a too-high expenditure on alcohol.

Nevertheless, Mr Rüütel said, improvements in other areas could be made.

''We could successfully reach a situation where people can be frozen, and stored until their subsequent revival,'' he added, presumably referring to cryonics, the science of freezing human corpses at a temperature of close to minus two hundred degrees celsius, with a view to later reviving the bodies once solutions to their revival have been met.

Around 250 bodies had undergone cryopreservation in the US as at 2014, it is reported, the earliest dating from 1967.

EU used to be an alliance of sovereign states

Mr Rüütel added that, although he had personally been in the vanguard of Estonia's accession to EU membership, the union then was still an alliance of sovereign states, in his view.

EKRE has consistently taken an anti-EU stance, seeing it as amongst other things an undemocratic, supra-national organisation.

Estonia's pork production has declined significantly in recent years, to 38,400 tonnes in 2017, down from over 50,000 tonnes two years before, according to Statistics Estonia. African Swine Fever (ASF) has devastated the country's pig farms, which reportedly fell from 920 in 2014, to 125 in 2018, largely as a result of ASF.

Estonia had an estimated adult prevalence rate in HIV/AIDS of 0.7% in 2017, according to the CIA World Factbook, lying at 53rd in the world.

Arnold Rüütel, 90, was President of Estonia from 2001 to 2006. Estonia joined the EU in 2004. He was the last chair of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR, from 1983 to 1990, after which it became the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia, which he remained chair of until 1992, through the country's transition to independence. During the 1970s, he was rector of the Estonian Agricultural University in Tartu.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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