Farmers in villages in Bulgaria’s Silistra district have started large-scale killing of their pigs, to avoid the pigs being euthanised because of the dangers of African Swine Fever, reports on September 4 said.
A few days earlier, 65 pigs were euthanised in the Tutrakantsi village in the Varna district because of an ASF infection.
On September 4, Varna regional governor Stoyan Pasev said that the tests for African Swine Fever in animals in the village of Bozveliysko, nearby Tutrakantsi, were negative. However, the restrictive measures in the three-kilometre zone around the outbreak of infection remain in force because the incubation period is 14 days.
This means that the village of Tutrakantsi, where the disease was discovered, remains under quarantine, while Bozveliysko remains under observation. The ban on the export of pork outside the Varna district remains in force. Veterinary officials said that after a few days they will again take samples and if the result is negative again, the restrictive measures will be dropped.
According to the reports from Silistra, people were killing the pigs for consumption. Should euthanasia be ordered, rules would have to be applied about the disposal of the carcases to prevent consumption but more importantly, the further spread of the sickness.
Bulgaria’s Food Safety Agency has posted on its website information for farmers on how to identify symptoms of the African Swine Fever virus and the steps to take to prevent the disease spreading.
On September 4, a spokesperson for Bulgaria’s pig farming association said that the government’s steps against the sickness were adequate. At the same time, the spokesperson warned that should the sickness spread throughout Bulgaria, the economic consequences would be very serious.
There are about 100 000 pigs in industrial farms in Bulgaria. Pork is the most widely-produced and consumed meat in Bulgaria, and accounts for about 80 per cent of the country’s total meat production. Pork consumption has risen in previous years, to close to 10kg per capita in recent years.
African Swine Fever has been spreading in Central and Eastern Europe in the past four years. In recent months, there have been outbreaks in Romania, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. In Bulgaria’s northern neighbour, more than 120 000 pigs have been killed because of African Swine Fever, while Bulgaria rapidly built a fence at its land border with Romania, to try to prevent wild boar crossing south into the country.
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