African swine fever found in fattening pigs in new part of Germany

African swine fever has been detected in domestic pigs in a brand new area in the north east of Germany. 

The virus has been found in a fattening pig unit for the first time in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the Rostock region, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (BMEL) has confirmed.

This represents a big leap westwards from all previous cases, which had been confined to two states near the Polish border – Brandenburg and Saxony, with the vast majority of cases, now more than 2,000, in wild boar. Three cases had been found in smallholdings in Brandenburg in July.

The source of this latest outbreak is not yet known. Control measures have been put in place by the local authorities, including the removal of all animals on the farm.

Samples were sent to Germany’s Friedrich Loeffler Institute, after fattening pigs died on the farm. The FLI confirmed suspicions of ASF.

The outbreak will only increase the pressure on the German pig sector, which has suffered badly from a combination of lost pork exports markets, including China, since ASF was discovered in Brandenbeurg in September 2020 and COVID disruption. An oversupply of pigs in Germany and across Europe has forced the German pig price to rock bottom levels – the latest German Reference Price is just 108p/kg.

German pig farming organisation ISN said: “Unfortunately, the fear has been confirmed that at least one selective spread of ASF in Germany cannot be prevented.

“Now it is important that the causes for the entry into the fattening farm are determined and that the control strategies that have already been started take effect on site. In contrast to the ASF cases in the wild boars, the virus occurrence in the fattening pigs can be precisely narrowed down and controlled in a targeted manner.

“With regard to the market, the situation does not change, because one way or another Germany is already banned from exporting pork to many third countries. However, another federal state is now affected and restriction zones have to be expanded or re-designated.

“On the one hand, this underscores our demand on the federal and state governments to act together in combating the ASF. On the other hand, it is once again clear that the slaughter and processing options for livestock from restricted areas must now also be significantly expanded on the economic side, because we are running aground with isolated solutions.

“For all pig farmers it is now more important than ever to continue to meticulously comply with the biosafety measures in their own farm!”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.