The Polish Agricultural Ministry has tightened veterinary requirements for pig farms in Podlaskie, Lubelskie and Mazowieckie provinces, in an attempt to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) from spreading further.
The new regulations were announced on 19 July – in detail they are aimed at introducing new disinfection rules at pig farms and obliging farmers to keep pigs separately from all other animals, a press release said.
In addition, by 31 December 2017 all farms must be surrounded by fences of no lower than 1.5 metres tall, attached to the ground. These will have to prevent all animals from outside of the farm penetrating the farm’s premises.
2017 has been disastrous in terms of ASF
The measures are being taken in response to a strong increase in the number of African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in Poland in 2017. Since the beginning of the year, almost 300 outbreaks have been registered – 31 outbreaks have been reported in these provinces and communicated to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). From the 1st outbreak in 2014 until the beginning of this year, only 200 cases were reported. Most of these were dead wild boars in forests or fields.
In late June, even a farm in Dawidowizna, Podlaskie province was hit, meaning that 1,066 animals had to be culled – the largest pig facility in Poland so far to have been hit by African Swine Fever.
Taking all necessary measures to comply
As from 15 August 2017 all pig farms must either to take all necessary measures to comply with the new requirements, or to report to the regional veterinary office about the inability to do that. In that case, the veterinary services may have to decide to cull all pigs at the farm and prohibit growing of any animals that are susceptible to ASF until 15 December 2018.
A dead wild boar due to ASF in a field in Eastern Poland. Photo: Iwona Markowska-Daniel
In that case farmers can apply for cost reimbursements to compensate for the culled pigs as well as the losses the farm suffered having to shut down that part of its daily business, a press release said. Farmers shall not be reimbursed, however, for costs related to measures to comply with the new legislation.
New measures are needed
The measures taken by the government, aimed at the reduction of the Polish wild boar population, have clearly been insufficient to curb the spread of the disease, according to Ewa Lech, deputy head of the country’s agricultural ministry. She told this recently on the website www.money.pl.
She said that the authorities are currently planning the construction of a fence at the border in eastern Poland, she added. This fence will have to stop influx of ASF-infected wild boars, coming in from Russia, Belarus or Ukraine.
Lech added that the Polish authorities are currently revising hunting regulations and planning to expand the list of tools allowed to be used by hunters.
Restrictions on hand luggage
According to Krzysztof Jurgiel, the Polish minister of agriculture and rural development, the country is also considering restrictions on transportation of meat products by citizens coming to Poland from the east, including hand luggage.
Media channel Sputnik Poland reported that Mr Jurgiel stated that the situation with ASF “could lead to a real blast in the industry, affecting pig production in the country on the national scale”.