WITH African swine fever circulating on Germany’s doorstep, German authorities are intensifying measures to keep the disease out of its national pig herd.
Germany’s Minister of Agriculture Barbara Otte-Kinast announced recently that Lower Saxony would follow in the footsteps of North-Rhine Westphalia to establish a wildlife epidemic prevention group. She insisted other federal states should follow suit because fast, consistent and co-ordinated action would be critical to mitigating an outbreak of ASF in Germany’s wild boar.
The virus has continued to emerge in wild boar and domestic pig stocks in western Poland, threatening to move further west to Germany. This said, German authorities are confident security measures already implemented in domestic production will keep the disease out – the problem will be with controlling its spread in wild pigs, which are prevalent in rural states.
The establishment of a wildlife epidemic prevention group would allow the rapid co-ordination of carcass collection, site decontamination and hunting of infected wild boar, which greatly reduces the chances of the disease spreading in that environment.
The ability to install fencing quickly would also aid with mitigating boar movement. The Interest Group of Pig Owners of Germany (ISN) said a lot has happened in the past year to prepare for ASF in Germany so pig farmers can continue to deliver adequate numbers of pigs if an outbreak was to occur.
“North-Rhine Westphalia has taken a big step forward with the establishment of an animal disease prevention company,” ISN said.