Estonia moves to halt spread of ASF

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pig farms Wild boar Pig Livestock Pork

So far six wild boar have died from ASF in Estonia
So far six wild boar have died from ASF in Estonia
Despite preventative measures put in place by Estonia, it was only a matter of time before African swine fever (ASF) spread to the country, GlobalMeatNews has been told.

So far six wild boars have died from the disease, with the first case discovered in Hummuli, in the Valga district - around 6km from the border with Latvia, earlier this month. Other cases have since been discovered in the neighbouring Viljandi district.

Toomas Kevvai, deputy secretary general for food safety, research and development, at the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture, told GlobalMeatNews​: "Considering the fast and wide spread of the virus in our neighbouring countries and the fact that wild boars do not acknowledge state borders it was only a matter of time for the virus to get here."

He said its potential impact on the porcine livestock sector depended on whether the spread of the virus could be limited.

Kevvai said that since the first ASF outbreak in Lithuania, the ministry has been actively informing all owners of pig farms of the potential risks.

"A complete ban on keeping domestic pigs or farmed wild boar outdoors has been established by the Veterinary and Food Board, monitoring of pig farms has been intensified and the control of compliance with bio-safety requirements has been strengthened in all pig farms. All pig farms have been controlled and the number of pigs in the holdings has been verified,"​ he explained.

The ministry had also been working to raise public awareness through the direct-mailing of information leaflets, to farmers, veterinary centres and farmers’ and hunters’ organisations, for example, as well as "holding informative meetings, and intensifying co-operation with farmers’ and hunters’ associations and with the officials of the Ministry of Environment responsible for hunting rules",​ said Kevvai.

"We are using all available means to keep the disease within the population of wild boars and to prevent the virus from spreading to domestic pigs. Therefore we are in close co-operation with the Ministry of Environment, the Hunters’ Association and with pig breeders to introduce the instructions and code of conduct for prevention and eradication in the case of an ASF outbreak."

All direct expense incurred by farmers in the implementation of eradication procedures (slaughtering pigs, cleaning premises and disinfecting) will be compensated for, he said.

"The Ministry of Agriculture is also looking for possibilities for compensatory aid measures for economic obstacles arising in relation to limitations or restrictions for realisation of production for holders of pig farms in the restricted areas were the disease has been diagnosed among the wild boars."

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