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Larger wild boar culls won't contain ASF

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 18.03.2015 12:29
Just days after local authorities in the Podlasie region green-lit a plan to cull more wild boar, veterinary experts have stressed that eradicating African Swine Fever is unfeasible.
Wild boar. Photo: wikimedia commons/GerardMWild boar. Photo: wikimedia commons/GerardM

The Podlasie regional assembly's plan to cull a further 500 wild boar is designed both to combat ASF (the outbreak of the virus prompted several embargoes on Polish pork products) and to stem the destruction of crops by the animals.

''The total elimination of the ASF virus in wild boar is virtually impossible,'' commented Krzysztof Jażdżewski, Poland's Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, in an interview with Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

Jażdżewski underlined that it is unfeasible to control every animal living in the woods.

Although the Ministry of the Envirnonment is backing controlled culls (the level has increased by 30 percent since last year), ministry spokesman Katarzyna Pliszczyńska has stressed that attempts to entirely liquidate the wild boar population could create greater problems.

She argued that the vacuum could encourage more wild boar to migrate from the Belarusian side of the border, and that these animals could be more infected than those at large in Poland at present.

The number of wild boar diagnosed with ASF in the Podlasie region has risen this year (11 cases). The outbreak first appeared in Poland in February 2014, near the border with Belarus. Since last year farmers' pigs have contracted the virus three times in the region, and a buffer zone was created.

However, countries such as China and Russia have ongoing embargos on Polish pork products, and they do not recognise regional variations.

ASF is harmless to humans but can be fatal for wild boar and pigs.

There are currently about 15,000 wild boar in the Podlasie region. (nh)

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