1m euros allocated to tackle swine fever outbreak in Baltics

  • 2014-01-28
  • From wire reports, RIGA

The Latvian government has agreed to pour 1.36 million euros in an effort to keep African swine fever from spreading across its borders.

The announcement comes after a hunted wild boar in Lithuania tested positive for the disease that rapidly infects farms . A state of emergency has been announced in a number of regions. The disease is harmless to humans but is known to cause havoc across farms. 

According to the Agriculture Ministry, it is necessary to tighten controls on Latvia's borders, as there have been recent confirmations of the swine fever in Lithuania's border area with Belarus.

The AFP news agency reports that Lithuania said Monday it plans a mass cull of its wild boars due to an outbreak of African swine fever after neighbors banned pork import from the country.

"The goal is to leave up to 10 percent of the current 60,000-strong (wild boar) population to prevent the virus from spreading," said Jurgita Savickaite, spokeswoman for the Food and Veterinary Service.

Non-EU neighbors Russia and Belarus banned pork products from Lithuania that are not processed thermally after the virus was detected in the country last week, Savickaite told AFP.

Lithuania's government is expected on Wednesday to officially declare a state of emergency in regions bordering Belarus, which it claims was the source of the virus.

All wild boars hunted in these regions -- all close to EU neighbor Poland -- will be incinerated if tests show they carry the virus, which is harmless to humans but lethal to pigs and has no known cure.

Lithuania also imposed a temporary ban on the shipping of live pigs out of the affected areas, fearing the virus could spread to local farms.

Lithuanian Interior Minister Dailis Alfonsas Barakauskas said the government will also turn to the EU Commission asking to finance a fence along Belarus' border to prevent the movement of boars.