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Germany calls for wild boar cull over African swine fever threat

Producers in Germany have called for a major cull of the country’s wild boar population in a bid to halt the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Europe.

The German Farmers’ Association said that 70% of the country’s wild boars need to be killed if an outbreak of ASF — which has been spreading in Eastern Europe over the past six months — is to be avoided, reports the Rheinische Post.

Werner Schwarz, deputy head of the association, said the number of cases of ASF in Europe, including in neighboring Poland and the Czech Republic, made it vital that steps were taken now to prevent it reaching German swine.

As part of the association’s recommendations, Schwarz said the close season on hunting wild boar needs to be lifted to allow the animals — including mothers and young boar — to be killed.

The strategy was more humane than allowing animals to die naturally of the disease, he added.

German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt said he agreed the hunting ban needs to be lifted to reduce wild boar numbers.

“The price for pork could drop by 30% [if ASF reached German herds],” he said. “That would lead to losses of billions of Euros in the meat industry.”

But James Brückner of the German Environment and Nature Protection Association said the only way to control wild boar population is to diversify farm production.

Germany’s 2.5m hectares of corn fields has provided boars with an ideal habitat, resulting in their rise in numbers, he said.

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Posted on March 16, 2018

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