Underestimating swine fever risk will lead to spread in Russia - ministry

Underestimating the real danger of African Swine Fever (ASF) and ignoring basic regulations will lead to the spread of this dangerous animal disease in Russia.

The Agriculture Ministry reported that this was the conclusion reached at a meeting Wednesday chaired by Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov.

The veterinary department said that 57 cases of ASF have been registered in seven regions since the start of 2012: 23 in Krasnodar territory, 19 in Tver, 11 in Volgograd region and one-off cases in Karelia and Kalmykia, Rostov and Yaroslavl regions.

The ASF situation worsened between June 19 and September 8. During this time 50 cases were identified in five regions - 20 in Krasnodar territory, 19 in Tver region, 9 in Volgograd and one each in Rostov and Yaroslavl regions. So far two cases of ASF have been eliminated in household farms, so there are now 48 cases of infection.

Despite a bank, household and small farms continue to feed pigs with fodder containing raw pig or wild boar slaughter products. "A major risk factor is that farm owners and managers are still underestimating the danger of the spread of ASF and are breaching biological protection of industrial zone regimes," the report says.

Fyodorov recommended that the example at Krasnodar territory be considered where careless farmers were penalized. "This is an example of an administrative approach where the problem is dangerous. The measure is forced but effective in terms of protecting the population," the minister said.

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