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Germany gives free rein to boar hunters to contain swine fever risk

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Staff Writer | Friday February 23, 2018 6:17AM ET
Germany boar
Disease   A significant reduction in the wild boar population

Germany issued a decree to allow hunters to shoot wild boar year-round to stop the animals, which can carry African swine fever, from passing the deadly infection on to farm pigs.


While no case has yet been detected in Germany’s wild boar population, the spread of the disease in eastern Europe is causing immense concern in Germany, whose pork industry has seen huge growth in exports to countries including China.

A government spokesman said the cabinet’s decision was taken to bring about a “significant reduction” in the wild boar population and contain the risk of farm pigs being infected.

The cabinet also agreed on protection measures which would kick in if a case of swine fever was reported in Germany, such as the creation of security zones around affected areas and mandatory disinfection of animal transportation vehicles.

The virus, which causes African swine fever, is harmless to humans and other animals. But for wild boar and farm pigs, the disease is deadly in almost all cases within 10 days. There is no vaccine against African swine fever.

Infected wild boars have been found in the Czech Republic and Poland, while backyard pigs with the disease were found in Romania in January.

German farmers have called for 70 percent of the country’s relatively large wild boar population to be culled.

 

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