Mandatory pig count planned amid swine fever outbreak

  • 2014-08-21
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

(photo: twitter)

Farmers in Lithuania are under obligation to register all pigs by Sept. 15 following the outbreak of African swine fever.

The disease, which causes mass death rates in pigs, was identified on one of Lithuania's largest pig farms earlier this month. The outbreak led to a state of emergency being declared in most regions.

"We have to take care of ourselves,"  Lithuanian government minister Virginija Baltraitiene said.

"We cannot wait for the European Commission's decisions, as we have to act here and now. Compensation will help farmers but will not solve problems, thus additional measures are needed."

Agriculture Ministry, veterinary and other officials have unanimously agreed that mandatory free registration of pigs will have to be carried out from Aug. 20 to Sept. 15. It will be conducted by doctors of the territorial State Food and Veterinary Service branches together with specialists of local parishes. They will visit all farms and assist farmers filling in the necessary registration forms.

Rimantas Krasuckis, director of the Agricultural Production and Food Industry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture said: "Registration of pigs is not a novelty. Such requirements were applied in the past. However, as African swine fever erupted, we will have to monitor the process more closely in order to obtain more accurate data on the changes of pig numbers," 

Pig farmers have to register pigs, their herds and locations where they are kept. Data will have to be updated every quarter.

Baltic and Polish officials intend to address the European Commission to allocate additional support to fund laboratory testing and preventative measures.