About 24 500 pigs are to be culled at an industrial farm in the village of Nikola Kozlevo in the Shoumen district in north-eastern Bulgaria after an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) was confirmed by laboratory tests, the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency said.
Measures have been taken to control and eliminate the disease in accordance with the rules of European and national legislation and the emergency response plan for ASF control, the agency said.
A three-kilometre protection zone has been decreed around the area of the outbreak, as well as a 10km monitoring zone.
Humane killing and disposal of the remains of all pigs infected and those that have been in contact with them is forthcoming, subject to regulatory requirements, the agency said.
Bulgarian National Television reported Bulgarian Food Safety Agency head Professor Paskal Zhelyazkov as saying that measures could not be taken to separate the infected pigs “because the infection has penetrated the site so extensively, this is not possible”.
He said that further, the agency had no right to do so, according to the rules, while Agriculture Minister Dessislava Taneva had told him “do as much as possible to save livestock, because the state has suffered huge losses”.
The Food Safety Agency reiterated its call to farmers to comply with all sanitary measures to prevent the spread of ASF.
Industrial pig production in Bulgaria is concentrated in the north-eastern part of the country. In the Shoumen district, there are about 65 000 pigs on farms.
There were 42 registered outbreaks of African Swine Fever in Bulgaria in 2019, eight at industrial farms, according to the Agriculture Ministry. About 140 000 pigs were culled.
About 70 million leva (about 35 million euro) was spent in 2019 on preventative measures and compensation for farmers whose pigs were culled.
Bulgaria’s government plans amendments to agricultural legislation early in 2020 to step up measures against ASF.