Poland is set to introduce new laws to allow the army and police to shoot wild boar to prevent the spread of African swine fever (ASF).
Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski wants to give army and police personnel extra powers to cull wild boar after a new outbreak was detected in the west of Poland in November, according to a report by Associated Press.
Around 20 cases were discovered in at least two clusters in the Lubuskie region, with some as near as 40km from the German border. The new cases represented a worrying jump westwards of about 250km and took the virus close to Poland’s biggest pig producing region, Wielkopolskie province, home to 30% of the country’s pig population.
The infected area is being fenced off, but massive shootings are necessary, Mr Ardanowski said on state Polish Radio. The proposed new legislation would also punish anyone obstructing the killing of the animals, he added.
Around 180,000 wild boar have been shot to contain ASF in the east of Poland, where the virus has been spreading for some time, but environmentalists have tried to prevent the culls, according to the report.
Mr Ardanowski will submit the draft law to parliament in coming weeks for swift processing, he said.
Germany is also extremely worried. The authorities are deploying sniffer dogs, drones and electric fences to prevent wild boar from neighbouring countries transmitting bringing the disease into the country, the Brussels Times reports.
With the virus now just 40km from the border, Torsten Reinwald, the spokesman for the German Hunting Federation, said: “It is no longer a question of knowing whether ASF will reach Germany, but when! The virus can survive in mud on vehicle wheels for up to 100 days.”
In Saxony, bordering Poland, hunters, vets and emergency workers are being trained to take practical measures in the field. Using drones and infrared cameras, they simulate the infection outbreaks and how it could be handled.
Further north, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has purchased a 50-kilometre long, mobile electric fence for €50,000 to keep wild boar out of Poland.
On the opposite side of the country, a special unit of six sniffer dogs has been set up to find dead and sick wild boars in Sarre, which is close to France.