The epidemic of African swine fever (ASF) has come to Vladimir Putin. Of course, the head of state, as well as to all mankind, this disease is not threatened. She threatens wild boars, which at the presidential meeting proposed to shoot them as the main vectors of infection, hindering the Ministry of agriculture to develop the domestic pig. From the ferocious boar’s easy to make killers of domestic pigs. But is it? Program Manager for biodiversity conservation world wide Fund of nature protection Vladimir Krever in an interview with “MK” proved that the boar is not to blame.
— This year, outbreaks of ASF were recorded in 15 regions. However, the theme itself is not new. So happens every year. When this infection first appeared in Russia?
— In Europe Achs walks several decades. In Russia the first case of wild boar recorded in 2007 in Chechnya. The disease has been brought by migratory animals from the Caucasus. A year later in North Ossetia plague picked up and pet. In those places distributed svobodarny grazing pigs — they go into the forest, contact with wild brethren.
Three years of epizootic (epidemic) of ASF in wild fauna were limited to the subjects of the southern and North Caucasian districts. Five years ago the situation has changed. The disease began to spread over long distances. In the spring of 2011 massive outbreaks of ASF were registered among domestic pigs in the territory of Central Russia. Formed a second focus in the Tver region, where the ASF virus was introduced together with infected pork products.
The deterioration of the situation contributed to the unauthorised dumping of dead pigs infected with ASF. For several months, the government is carefully concealed. Lost livestock in violation of all norms and rules were thrown out into the woods and dumped. The result was a plague of wild boar population not only in Tver, but in the Novgorod region.
— From this we can draw two conclusions. First. The ASF virus in the center of the country brought not the boars, and people. Second. The authorities are to blame for the epidemic, since a long time suppressed the problem and not struggled with it properly.
— Absolutely. The analysis of ASF spread allows it to state. We are talking about abnormally rapid transfer of the virus over long distances, the absence, in most cases, relationship cases, the obvious traceability of the spread of the infection through the main traffic flows, the appearance of the disease on a large pig breeding enterprises (e.g. Voronezh region) with the highest animal health status. Finally, the presence of outbreaks in the regions where wild boar did not inhabit. Therefore, the rapid spread of the plague is a result of uncontrolled movements of infected domestic pigs or their meat.
Wild boar can transmit the infection only by direct contact with domestic pigs, which is contrary to the practices of pig breeding in the same Tver region. The role of wild boar as a reservoir of infection has not been proven in any country in Europe.
— However, the head of the Ministry Alexander Tkachev adheres to the opposite position. He blames wild boars.
— From the point of view of leading experts, veterinarians, the main determining factors of ASF spread are a continuing supply of pigs and pig products from infected to free from ASF areas, delay of actions of the authorities in the chain “diagnosis of quarantine, the lack of current preventive programmes in subjects as well as the unfavorable epizootic situation in EU countries, Ukraine and Belarus. Because the boars do not know borders and in contact with each other.
— It turns out, boars innocent and killing them is not necessary?
— More than 30 years of experience in the fight against ASF in the EU, primarily in Spain, confirms that the exclusion of movement in the clean zone infected with ASF production is a comprehensive measure to prevent this disaster. In Russia, however, due to the inability of bodies of veterinary supervision almost everywhere such prohibition is not respected.
“Depopulation,” or the shooting of wild boars will lead not to reduction, and the spread of the disease, as raspugivali animals will disperse. In Spain the same recommended density of wild boars in areas with Achs is 5-10 individuals per 1,000 hectares, on the other — 30-40 individuals. And no extreme measures. We call this figure to increase to 0.5 individuals per 1000 ha!!!
In General, far-fetched, the Ministry of agriculture and heads of veterinary services, the problem of transfer and spread of ASF in wild boar is nothing more than a way to justify failing to organize and hold at the proper level the complex of necessary preventive and quarantine measures, and to issue relevant legal acts. Not to mention the fact that the “depopulation” is obviously costly. So we must expect that the Ministry of agriculture it will require a significant budget.