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9,000 pigs to be slaughtered after African swine fever detected at farm

Pigs.
Pigs. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

More than 9,000 pigs will be killed after African swine fever (ASF) was detected at a farm in Põlva County, south Estonia. Restrictions are in place around the facility.

ASF was found at Lutsu Farm which belongs to Estonia's largest pig breeding company Rakvere Farmid AS.

The animals cannot be removed from the area and the movement of workers and transport is restricted until the outbreak is eliminated.

The information reached the Agriculture and Food Board (Põllumajandus- ja toiduamet/ PTA) on Wednesday.

"Due to the disease, all the pigs kept on the farm will be killed because there is no treatment for the disease," said Inge Saavo, head of the PTA's southern region.

The agency will then lead the complete disinfection of the facility.

"There is one pig farm within the 10-kilometer restriction zone around the farm, which will also be subject to restrictions on the movement of animals and materials associated with the keeping of the pigs to prevent the possible spread of the disease," Saavo said.

Rakvere Farmid AS will be eligable for compensation.

Markus Kirsberg, CEO of HKScan Baltics which owns the company, said the virus reached the farm despite its high safety standards. 

"This is an important production for us, as we raise the pigs ourselves and on our own farms. The fattening pigs are also transported from there to the Rakvere meat industry," Kirsberg added.

ASF does not harm humans or other species although it can be transmitted by both and contaminated surfaces, such as clothes, vehicles, or equipment.

Last week an ASF outbreak was found at Rõuge Municipality, Võru County which saw 116 pigs killed. Additionally, 17 wild boars have tested positive in Põlva County this year and 40 across the country.

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Editor: : Merili Nael, Helen Wright

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