Mayors of 31 villages in the district of Pazardzhik in Bulgaria have issued a joint statement saying that they will not allow the forced slaughter of domestic pigs after August 2, the deadline for the voluntary culling of the animals decreed as a measure against the further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).
The mayors have demanded that Agriculture Minister Dessilava Taneva cancel the order.
Hadzhievo Mayor Andon Andonov is adamant that the pig-slaughtering teams will face serious resistance from people, Bulgarian National Radio reported on August 1.
“I prepared the rifles, I took the key from the bell tower…this is absolutely serious,” BNR reported Andonov as saying.
The mayor of Dubrovnitsa, Gurkov Mitev, said: “There is no outbreak in Pazardzhik. Such preventative measures cannot be taken – they should be scrapped. What would happen if, God forbid, there was a plague among people? Would we shoot the healthy ones? Who would defend them?”
A protest is planned for August 2 in Pazardzhik, to be attended by farmers from all over the municipality.
There have been more than 22 outbreaks of African Swine Fever in Bulgaria in recent days, including at five industrial pig farms and among wild and domestic pigs.
At the industrial pig farms, a total of more than 100 000 pigs either have been culled or are to be. Bulgaria is reported to have a total of 550 000 to 600 000, according to figures pre-dating the ASF outbreak.
Sanitary, safety and monitoring zones have been set up around places where there have been ASF outbreaks. The government has insisted that, in the absence of a vaccine, there is no alternative to culling, which is provided for in European and Bulgarian law.