African Swine Fever: More than 100 000 pigs in northern Bulgaria killed

The outbreaks of African Swine Fever in Bulgaria have resulted in more than 100 000 pigs being culled in the northern part of the country, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said on the evening of August 1.

Estimates from before the outbreak of African Swine Fever put the number of registered pigs in Bulgaria at a maximum 600 000.

The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency has begun checks in small towns in northern Bulgaria to see if farmers have voluntarily got rid of their pigs, the report said.

The deadline for doing so in districts in that part of Bulgaria expired on July 31. Failure to comply means a fine of 100 to 1000 leva (about 50 to 500 euro).

Efforts by veterinary authorities in Rousse, the largest city on Bulgaria’s Danube border, are currently aimed at controlling the outbreak of African Swine Fever in the town of Byala, where a sick pig was found in a farmyard. In the area, 140 animals will be euthanised at six unregistered small farms.

However, employees of the Regional Food Safety Agency say that they often encounter resistance and misunderstanding by farmers in small towns about how serious the disease is, the BNT report said.

None of the pig farms in Rousse has completed the euthanasia and burial of the pigs. This is expected to take place within five days.

An owner of a farm in Brushlen, one of the first places where an outbreak of African Swine Fever, told BNT he would not be laying off workers because he hopes the industry will recover again soon.

Radical measures to combat African Swine Fever have begun to meet resistance. The mayors of the 31 villages in the Pazardzhik municipality said in a joint statement that they would not allow the forced slaughter of domestic pigs.

Responding to the resistance, Bulgaria’s Agriculture Minister Dessislava Taneva visited Pazardzhik.

After a two-hour meeting, it emerged that the deadline for the killing of pigs in the area has been extended and is now August 11.

There are also manifestations of discontent elsewhere in Bulgaria.

Pig owners from the Krushare village of Sliven protested against orders of the culling of pigs. One protest saw the blockading of the Sliven – Yambol road.

Owners of domestic pigs in two settlements in the Veliki Preslav municipality of Shoumen refused to slaughter their pigs by the deadline of 5pm on July 31.

There is currently no registered outbreak of African Swine Fever in Bulgaria’s Shoumen district.

Nine out of 10 municipalities in the Veliko Turnovo district are within 20km of the two large industrial pig farms in the district.

Residents and mayors are opposing the compulsory culling of pigs, Bulgarian National Radio said.

In Dolna Oryahovitsa, people are protesting and will not allow authorities to kill pigs at household lots, BNR said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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