ASF: Bulgaria’s pig industry calls for national emergency to be declared

Representatives of Bulgaria’s industrial pig companies called on August 2 for the declaration of a countrywide state of emergency because of the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Over recent days, emergencies have been declared in some of Bulgaria’s districts, either where outbreaks of ASF have been confirmed or because of concerns it could spread to them.

Industrial pig producers, backed by representatives of Bulgaria’s meat production, meat processing and grain producing industries, called for even stricter measures to curb the contagion, warning that it is about to cause huge economic losses for the country.

Exports of meat and grain are at risk, while with 30 per cent of industrial pig production in Bulgaria now gone, pork prices are rising.

Pig breeder Roumen Karamanov told a news conference on August 2 that the industry was calling for the declaration of a national state of emergency so that everyone would be subject to the same measures.

Tsvetan Iliev, of the Association of Industrial Pig Breeders said: “I would like to address myself to the farmers who are distributing pigs all over the country and hiding them from veterinarians. You can hide them from the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, but you can’t hide them from the contagion”.

The owners of Bulgaria’s industrial pig farms said that rearing pigs in “back yards” should not be tolerated. This was the main cause of the spread of the disease, they said.

Svetla Chamova of the Meat Producers Association said that after the slaughterhouses are closed, people would be left jobless.

Ventsislav Varbanov of the Farmers Association said that because of the contagion, grain could also be banned for export.

Bulgarian National Radio reported Vihren Dimitrov, of the farm in Golyamo Vranovo, as saying that the Bulgarian authorities “had been asleep” for a whole year in which the disease was known about, but the necessary actions had not been taken.

On August 2, there were protests in various parts of Bulgaria where people are resisting government orders to cull their pigs or face, after the deadline to do so passes, compulsory culling of the animals by state authorities. They want Agriculture Minister Dessislava Taneva to revoke the order. In places such as Pazardzhik district, protesters said that the order was wrong because there had been no ASF outbreak in the area.

Also on August 2, the regional governor of the district of Sofia (as distinct from the city of Sofia) ordered a number of measures taken, including enhanced veterinary examinations and stepped-up checks at Kalotina border checkpoint, to prevent ASF reaching the district.



The Sofia Globe staff

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