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Pig breeders offer tough measures to fight African Swine Fever in Russia

August 05, 2013, 16:01 UTC+3
Almost 53,000 pigs were destroyed in Belgorod region in order to stop the virus
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MOSCOW, August 5 (Itar-Tass) - Russian pig breeders want to devise a tough plan of measures against African Swine Fever (ASF) at the next session of control centre handling the ASF emergency, operations led by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Head of the National Meat Association Sergei Yushin said the session was due on August 8. He believed the experience of the Belgorod region had to be applied where the virus was registered. Culling of infected pigs began in that region on July 23 on instructions from Governor Yevgeny Savchenko. Almost 53,000 pigs were destroyed and a ban imposed on breeding pigs at farms and enterprises where the level of biological protection was low. As a result, the virus was stopped by August 5.

According to Yushin, “such emergency measures must be supported at the federal level. There is simply no other way for maintaining and developing swine-breeding in Russia.”

The National Meat Association offers to apply such drastic measures to the Voronezh, Tver and Smolensk regions. Such measures were used at the end of 2011 and early in 2012 in the Belgorod region, where about 18% of Russian pigs are bred and almost a quarter of Russian pork is produced. Viktor Linnik, president of Russia’s biggest pork producer, Miratorg, said: “We have come to the conclusion that measures to fight against ASF must be sweeping, tough and applied to all regions at risk”. “The industry must be preserved, and no rudimentary measures will help in this situation,” he said.

Pig breeders also believe it is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus by wild boars, but the Rosprirodnadzor environmental watchdog is against their shooting.

ASF has spread across almost the whole European territory of Russia and swine-breeding is under threat in some regions. The Rosselkhoznadzor agricultural watchdog estimates damage from ASF at 30 billion rubles since 2008, when the virus began actively spreading across Russia.

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