Swine fever task-force created by Baltic states and Poland

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Officials from the Baltic states and Poland have agreed on the formation of a joint task-force to draft proposals to the European Commission regarding the battle against African swine fever (ASF), reports BNS from Vilnius Wednesday.

As Lithuania’s new Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitiene told a press conference following the regional ministers’ swine fever summit, the working group has been given until August 15 to prepare proposals for the financing of research into developing a possible vaccine and to fund teams whose objective is to deal with the consequences of the ASF outbreak.

Lithuania’s Food and Veterinary Service head Jonas Milius was unable to specify the amounts that might need to be requested from the EC.

Latvia’s Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs stressed the need for cooperation at this time, despite some differences of opinion, for instance regarding the need to cull sizable portions of the wild boar populations in the region’s forests.

“Unified action is critical to preventing and fighting ASF in our four states. We must have a common position in talks with the EC on raising co-financing levels for compensation payments and support for ensuring that we get the right technical equipment for this,” he said.

"The Baltics and Poland are the buffer for all of the EU where stopping the spread of African swine fever is concerned so it is justified to request financial resources from the Commission," said Estonian Agriculture Minister Ivar Padar after the meeting.

Meanwhile, ASF continues to spread in Latvia, with two more infected domestic pigs confirmed both in Valka district’s Ergeme county of northern Vidzeme province, near the July 18 outbreak, as well as two more pigs confirmed infected in Kraslava district’s Robeznieki county and Dagda district’s Berzini county of southeastern Latgale province, where the dangerous virus was first confirmed in June. In addition, lab tests also confirmed ASF in a hunted-down wild boar in Ergeme.

ASF was detected at the beginning of 2014 in Lithuania and Poland, then in June of this year in Latgale. So far ASF is confirmed to have hit 37 wild boar and 33 domestic pigs in 18 various homestead farms, prompting the mandatory culls of 221 exposed domestic pigs.

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