African swine fever: First case in the Dahme-...
African swine fever

First case in the Dahme-Spreewald district

Imago / Metodi Popow
Wild boars are introducing African swine fever into the European Union.
Wild boars are introducing African swine fever into the European Union.

GERMANY, Potsdam. There has been a first confirmed case of African swine fever (ASF) in a wild boar in the German Dahme-Spreewald district.

According to the district, the infected carcass is a fresh boar, which was recovered northeast of Trebitz in the immediate vicinity of the Oder-Spree district border. The location where the dead animal was found is in the already defined core area 3, which includes parts of the Oder-Spree district as well as about 2,100 ha in the Dahme-Spreewald district. Since the latest ASF detection in a wild boar is within the existing core zone, this has no further impact on the restriction zones already established in the Dahme-Spreewald district, the district said. The state crisis team animal disease control-ASF coordinates the further measures for infection control of the veterinary offices and lower hunting authorities in the counties on site.

According to the Animal Disease Information System of the Friedrich Loffler Institute (FLI), there were a total of 661 ASF cases in Brandenburg and 45 in Saxony since the first detection of the animal disease on Sept. 10, 2020, through Feb. 18. The nationwide total thus grew to more than 700 detections. Europe-wide, Germany ranks fourth in the European Union with 297 ASF cases in wild boar so far this year. This inglorious list is headed by Hungary with 711 ASF detections, followed by Poland with 547 and Romania with 342 confirmed cases. Romania is the only member state that has also experienced introductions of the virus into domestic pig herds in 2021; statistics show 191 affected herds. In nearby EU third countries, there have been 11 ASF outbreaks in pig farms in Ukraine and two in Serbia.

Relief in restricted areas

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture announced last Friday that a relief for pig farms in restriction areas will continue in the movement ban. In these ASF risk areas, a movement ban applies in principle, but it may be necessary for animal welfare reasons for the farms located there that pigs must be slaughtered. However, the competent authority of the federal state can only deviate from the ban on transport out of endangered areas and issue a permit if certain animal health examinations are provided for.

Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner had therefore successfully lobbied at EU level for this principle to be retained in the EU Commission's new implementing regulation to combat ASF. Accordingly, the competent authorities in the federal states could take into account veterinary examinations of the herd that had taken place up to three months previously if an outbreak of ASF had been detected in feral pigs. In order for an exemption to be granted to a farm located in an ASF restriction area, such an examination is recommended and necessary, he said. "On the one hand, this serves animal welfare, and on the other, it relieves the burden on livestock farmers in the affected areas," Klöckner explained. The new executive order is effective April 21.

Caution at game fences

Meanwhile, the social and agricultural ministries in Brandenburg have called for special caution at the numerous game protection fences in areas affected by ASF. "The protective fences are designed to keep wild boar out as much as possible. Other game, such as deer and roe deer, can jump over the fences, which are usually 1.20 m high, and small animals such as martens and creeping animals can slip through," explained the head of the ASP crisis staff, Anna Heyer-Stuffer.

The Secretary of State for Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture, Silvia Bender, pointed out that the fences could hinder wildlife movement if wild boars were stopped or other animals did not immediately jump the fence. Then, encounters between humans and wild animals could occur, she said. "We therefore ask road users and recreationists to be extra careful and keep sufficient distance when wild animals are walking along the fence," Bender explained. There should be no loud shouting, gesticulating or honking and flashing lights, otherwise the wild animals in panic tried to overcome or break through the fence. Unfortunately, he said, there is also regular destruction or theft. Damage or holes in the fence should be reported immediately to the responsible districts so that the fences can be closed again quickly.

Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE
stats