EU action on ASF remains “inadequate” say Russia’s state vets

Russia’s state veterinary authority, Rosselkhoznadzor, has launched a fresh attack on the EU’s “inadequate” handling of African swine fever (ASF) saying that biosecurity requirements have been repeatedly ignored in the interests of maintaining European trade.

The comments follow the latest emergence of ASF on two major pig fattening units in Russia, a situation which local authorities say they have under strict control.

Rosselkhoznadzor’s view on how the EU has coped with ASF is far from complementary, however, pointing out that the disease has maintained a “very tense” existence in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland in the past year, with the EU registering 252 ASF outbreaks in 2014.

“At the same time, the European Commission (EC) has very inadequately perceived the threat of ASF’s further spread,” said Rosselkhoznadzor, claiming that European officials cared only for their own interests and the EU’s trading partners.

“Thus, the EC insists on maintaining only a minimal quarantine zone along the EU border with Belarus, despite Rosselkhoznadzor offering a different and more effective solution, based on more than seven years of experience in controlling ASF.”

The Russian body also said that the “measures taken by the Estonian Veterinary Service to combat the spread of this dangerous disease” were “ineffective”.

“The high density of population of wild boars and large number of small farms with low biological defence creates favourable conditions for the further spread of ASF in the EU,” said Rosselkhoznadzor.  “Despite this, the EC continues to refuse to take tough measures to combat the disease. As a result, the situation will become uncontrollable.”

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