Finland is considering eradication of wild boar to stop entry of African swine fever, in order to safeguard continued exports of pork. African swine fever has spread rapidly in recent years to Poland, Russia, Latvia and Lithuania. There have been some cases in Estonia, but none in Finland yet.
The existence of wild boars in Finland is a risk and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Jaana Husu-Kallio told national broadcaster Yle that eradication of the Finnish wild boar population is not ruled out. "If the swine pest enters Finland, then we could forget the visions of exporting Finnish pork to areas outside the EU," she said. "Even one confirmed infection in the wild boar population would have a decisive impact."
Finnish pork producers are looking for new markets outside the EU, in the wake of Russian restrictions.
African swine fever is caused by a virus and there is no current cure, but the infected pigs perish. However, the natural hosts of the virus such as wild boars may show no signs of the infection. The virus is not contagious to humans.
There are at least 500 wild boars in Finland. They are hunted as a sport. The population is densest near the Russian border. The hunters' organisations oppose a total eradication.
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