African swine fever – the farming, meat and animal feed sectors want measures put in place
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    African swine fever – the farming, meat and animal feed sectors want measures put in place

    On Friday evening the farming, meat and animal feed sectors asked for priority measures against the spread of African swine fever to be in place. The disease was detected in two wild boars living in the Luxemburg province. Several organisations within these sectors have written a joint statement to request a European plan to address the problem. They also suggested a slaughtering and butchering method for the affected area be put in place, along with a plan to reduce the boar population. 

    The Agrofront (made up of the Boerenbond and Algemenen Boerensyndicaat Flemish farming unions and the Walloon Farming Federation), food suppliers from the Belgian Feed Association (BFA) and abattoirs and butchers from the Belgian Meat Federation (Febev) have worked together to draw up five possible measures to stop the disease spreading.  

    They want a European plan to define and maintain the affected zone. “Boar could already be migrating across national borders and the disease could spread to France and Luxemburg”, the organisations explained. 

    They also want a committee dedicated to the export of meat and pork products to be created immediately, which the organisations concerned would be involved in. This committee would draw up a strategy to limit the impact on Belgian exports and if necessary look into extra measures depending on the situation. 

    The Agrofront, BFA and Febev think there should be a regulated slaughtering and butchering method for pigs in the area which is under tight surveillance. They say this is necessary to keep logistical operations to a minimum. 

    The fourth measure put forward is a realistic and feasible plan to reduce the boar population in the country. “This would mean the organised slaughtering of small and isolated populations in Eastern and Western Flanders”, the organisations say. “Strict maintenance has to be applied throughout the rest of the country and the boar population has to be prevented from spreading”. Farmers would be given assistance in protecting their property under this program, for example by appropriate closures.  

    Finally, the Agrofront, BFA and Febev say a crisis communication committee, which would assemble and coordinate all pertinent information, has to be created. 

    The organisations are drawing up an information plan, which aims to restrict movements to and from pork farms to those that are absolutely necessary. 

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times