Czech authorities take special measures to contain deadly African swine fever

Photo: CTK

Special measures have come into force in the Zlín region and other parts of Moravia in response to the first outbreak of African swine fever in the Czech Republic. Hunters are allowed to shoot all wild boar throughout the country and pig breeders will have to meet strict hygiene guidelines or else slaughter their animals by the end of July.

Marian Jurečka,  photo: CTK
Three weeks after the first case of swine fever was detected on Czech territory, and with 30 cases of the deadly disease confirmed among the population of wild boar, Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka announced it was time to take radical action to protect commercial farms and private breeders.

“We have come to the conclusion that at this point radical measures are needed to prevent the spread of the disease among the wild boar population and to private breeders. Experience from other countries suggests this is not an easy task and this is why we are introducing exceptionally strict measures. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to small breeders in particular, but the priority now must be to protect private breeders and commercial farms and prevent enormous losses.”

All limitations on hunting wild boar have been lifted and hunters have been given a financial incentive to shoot wild boar throughout the country, with a special accent on the Zlin region and the border areas with Slovakia and Poland. Fences will be erected in places to prevent infected animals migrating and hunters will be able to hunt wild boar using night vision goggles. The veterinary authorities have asked for specimen from all boar hunted down, making it a condition for the payment of the 1,000 crown financial incentive for every boar killed.

Meanwhile pig breeders in the Zlín area will have to meet strict new hygiene regulations or else slaughter their animals by the end of July. The regulations include keeping the animals in an indoor pen, using special shoes and wear when coming into contact with them, not giving them green fodder or straw bedding. Farmers who fail to meet the set norms by the end of the month or else slaughter their animals for home consumption.

Photo: CTK
No private breeder or commercial pig farm has so far been affected and all big farms are under close supervision from the veterinary authorities. If the infection is detected, all the animals would have to be culled. The special measures for farmers are valid in the Zlín region where the infection has spread and a big buffer zone around it.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, there is no published treatment or vaccination for African Swine Fever. Most countries where it has spread have had to effect radical measures – Malta and the Dominican Republic were forced to put down all pigs on their territory, Georgia and Azerbaijan were forced to cull seventy percent of their pig populations.

By effecting radical measures at a relatively early stage the Czech Republic is hoping to avoid that.