Pig pyres anger local residents

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Almost every local government district in southeast Latgale province has designated official sites with containers for collecting wild boar carcasses and parts. Pits are being dug to burn the culled swine known to be infected or exposed to African swine fever (AFS). However, some residents object to the improvised efforts to contain the crisis in line with orders by the state veterinary health authority, reports Latvian Radio (LR).

Such is the case in Saliena county of Daugavpils district, where people are upset over the unpleasant smoke and smell. They are also worried about the surrounding environment, their health and safety – whether the measures will threaten their homesteads and cause the disease to enter their animal pens.

For instance, a village meeting at the Saliena county hall Wednesday transpired in heated tones, despite the fact that no cases of ASF have yet been confirmed in its territory. Local residents are worked up over the official placement of a wild-boar pyre right in their backyard.

“Was there really no place else in all of Daugavpils district to put it?” asked one woman, “We can’t go into the woods, can’t go swimming, can’t go mushroom- or berry-picking,” she went on to complain to LR's correspondent.

Finding a place to burn the pigs was difficult due to the population densities among homestead farms in the area, says Daugavpils district council leader Janīna Jalinska. “We chose the site where the farms are farther apart in a wooded area,” she explained.

Jalinska admitted that the lack of proper cremating facilities has prompted improvised measures such as putting tires and other littered debris in with the firewood to achieve the necessary incineration temperatures, thus creating environmental hazards. Local governments are urging the state to bring in cremating units from third countries such as Poland and Denmark, where their use is widespread.

Twelve containers throughout Latgale’s districts have been put out for hunters to bring wild boar carcasses caught in the culls ordered by the Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) as part of the state of emergency declared for the affected regions, which now also include a whole swath of northern border areas with Russia and Estonia.

Similarly, pyre pits are also being created near them to destroy the culled animals.

PVD southern Latgale department head Antons Lazdāns told LR that “there’s no place for democracy here right now.”

“This is a matter for the state to handle, it’s a state of emergency that we must act quickly to stabilize. If we’re working at the state level, we have to put democracy aside and act. One is brought to court for failing to take action, not for taking action,” said the region’s chief veterinary health inspector.

Latgalē sākta ar cūku mēri slimo un nomedīto mežacūku dedzināšana
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PVD officials also confirmed Wednesday that their counterparts in Poland have detected another outbreak of ASF near the border with Belarus, where six infected wild boar carcasses were found in Grodek province. Previous cases of ASF were confirmed by Polish veterinary health officials on July 9, as well as in May and February.

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