Dresden (dpa) – After Brandenburg, a case of African swine fever (ASF) has now also been detected in Saxony.
The animal disease, which is harmless to humans, has been confirmed in a wild boar hunted in the Görlitz district, as announced on Saturday by the Saxon Ministry of Social Affairs. The female was shot on October 27 and was examined two days later at the state research center. On Saturday, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute confirmed that the animal was infected. A newborn vaccine at the same time had tested negative.
A crisis team from the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Animal Disease Control Center will be established. The establishment of the restriction zones is being prepared in consultation with the district and the Bundeswehr.
“I appeal to pig farmers not to give up their efforts to protect domestic pigs and to constantly follow biosecurity measures,” said Saxony Minister for Social Affairs Petra Köpping (SPD).
The first nationwide outbreak of the epidemic in wild boars was reported on September 10 just 50 kilometers from the Saxon border in Brandenburg. According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), 117 cases of wild boar are already official there. Domestic pig populations in Germany are still free from African swine fever. The state is trying to control the epidemic with fences, search dogs and drones. Animals usually die within a few days.
According to the BMEL, the infected wild boar was found near the Polish border in Upper Lusatia. There has been an active ASF event in Poland since 2014, which has spread to the west. Since January, cases of African swine fever have occurred in the immediate vicinity of the German border. Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU) announced that she would coordinate the fight against African swine fever with her colleagues from Poland and the Czech Republic.
As before in Brandenburg, the requirements of the Swine Fever Ordinance are now in effect. The main objective of the Saxon authorities is to prevent the disease from spreading. This includes the designation of zones with special protective measures. In Brandenburg dozens of kilometers of 1.20-high fences were installed. There was or still is a leash requirement for dogs, a hunting ban and a farming ban in the affected regions. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Social Affairs could not say on Saturday which of these measures are also possible for Saxony.
With a view to African swine fever, Farmers President Joachim Rukwied called for safety measures to be taken so that pigs are kept free and free. One has to argue “if not at least temporarily – similar to the issue when avian influenza breaks out, free-range farming should be in buildings,” he said on German Farmers’ Day in Erfurt in mid-October. Pig farming in Germany is already in the biggest crisis in decades and pork prices are in free fall.
Animal disease is harmless to humans. However, a proven epidemic has serious consequences for pig farms. There are strict export restrictions. More than 3,000 farmers in Saxony have a total of around 669,000 pigs.