Estonia issues fresh alert over ASF threat to Europe

Everything possible must be done to prevent African swine fever (ASF) spreading further across Europe, a high-ranking delegation from Estonia warned EU farm ministers in Brussels earlier this week.

Claiming that ASF had already caused a 15% decline in Estonia’s pig herd, and cost the country’s government £5.5 million in its attempt to control the problem, the delegation urged member state ministers to prioritise research and the collection of scientific data to improve their management of the current risk of the disease continuing to spread.

Estonia’s farm ministry is already working hard domestically to put its house in order, having previously been criticised for allowing weaknesses to persist in ASF controls.

The country’s latest initiative, announced yesterday by the director general of the Estonian Food and Veterinary Board, Olev Kalda, includes the running of a series of ASF briefing days targeted at Estonia’s hunting organisations.

The series, due to last from March 29 to April 13, will address long-standing concerns that wild boar hunting is playing a major part in helping to spread ASF wider and more rapidly than would otherwise be the case.

The setting up of the briefing series is the latest attempt, therefore, to foster improved levels of cooperation between Estonia’s farming and hunting communities.

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