Culled pigs burned in Latgale’s African swine flu emergency

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Comprehensive measures were taken Friday by Food and Veterinary Service officials in Kraslava district by the Belarus border against a confirmed outbreak of African swine fever amongst wild boar and domestic pigs alike.  

The Agriculture Ministry confirms the possibility that a ban on pig-farming may need to be declared in addition to an extensive 40-day prohibition already taken against public events such as races, exhibits and open-air markets in the affected territory.

Kraslava district council chairman Gunārs Upenieks warned the public on the heels of an emergency meeting of veterinary health officials that “any living creature is a potential carrier. The mushroom picker who comes in boots from the forest into his barn can become an unwitting host, too.”

All infected pigs of Robeznieki Parish so far have been culled and incinerated, with a three-kilometer protection zone and ten-kilometer monitoring zone established in the surroundings. Kraslava district chair Upenieks pointed out that there are no large-scale pork producing facilities in the affected area, but that officials are taking blood samples from all existing homesteads there. Farms with confirmed cases of African swine fever will be subject to a 40-day quarantine period and the destruction of all infected or dead animals.

The Kraslava local government head also worried over what to do about the wild animals in the forests. “The real question concerns the wild boar, which are migratory creatures, and whose populations will certainly need to be reduced,” said Upenieks. Viktors Litvjaks, who heads the local hunters’ club Asūne, said his members have not yet joined the mass shootings of wild boar recommended at the order of the veterinary health officials. “That’s no hunt, that’s just plain slaughter,” said Litvjaks. 

Dzintars Juskus, a senior inspector with the Food and Veterinary Service, suggested the affected area could soon fall subject to public panic and the mass slaughtering of animals.

Meanwhile Friday, Russian veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselhoznadzor issued a statement of concern regarding the confirmation of African swine fever in Latvia, criticizing insufficient measures taken previously by the European Union following outbreaks in Poland and Lithuania. Rosselhoznadzor is preparing to implement limits on the import of processed pork from Latvia into Russia.

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