Southern Estonia: Swine fever control restrictions could soon be lifted
If no new cases of the African swine fever (ASF) are reported over the next two months, negotiations could be taken up with the European Commission to exclude the counties of Southern Estonia from the current disease control zone.
The Veterinary and Food Board’s director, Indrek Halliste, said that in order for the current restrictions to be partially or fully lifted in the southern counties of Valga, Viljandi, Võru and Tartu, pig growers and officials alike needed to do everything possible to keep the disease away from farms in the next two months.
“The precondition for starting negotiations with the Commission is that there must be no new outbreaks in the course of the summer and the autumn. In addition to constant supervision, this requires everyday diligence from pig farmers,” Halliste said.
The criteria set out by the Commission at the end of 2015 for easing or lifting restrictions imposed to control the spread of ASF allow to ease restrictions once a full year has passed since the last outbreak. Loosening the restrictions would mean improvements for farmers both in the trade of live pigs and that of pork.
As a result of checks done on farms in Estonia in July and August, precepts were issued to 41 pig farms. In ten cases, farms were closed down. As of Aug. 15, one farm is left that yet has to meet the conditions.
So far this year, five cases of infection with ASF have been detected in Estonia. During 2015, 18 cases were identified, and more than 22,000 pigs were killed as a result.
The first case of ASF in Estonia was diagnosed on Sept. 8, 2014.