African swine fever

Lower Saxony: protection by fences and restriction zones

Most Read

"I am glad that we are now even better prepared to combat ASF," said Barbara Otte-Kinast, Lower Saxony's Minister of Agriculture.
imago images / Joachim Sielski
"I am glad that we are now even better prepared to combat ASF," said Barbara Otte-Kinast, Lower Saxony's Minister of Agriculture.

The federal state is arming itself against the animal disease. 150 km of protective fencing are to prevent a possible outbreak of African swine fever. The German armed forces are helping.

To be well prepared for a possible outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), Lower Saxony has purchased 150 km of protective fencing material at a cost of €1.1 million. At the storage of the material at the Bundeswehr site in Bergen near Bad Fallingbostel, Agriculture Minister Barbara Otte-Kinast made it clear that immediate measures would be necessary in the event of an outbreak. "The danger is unfortunately getting closer. I am glad that we are now even better prepared to combat ASF," the minister explained.

On the one hand, the important protective fence is now available, and on the other hand, a safe storage location has been found with the support of the Bundeswehr. In emergencies, the German Armed Forces can also be deployed domestically in accordance with the Basic Law; for example, Lower Saxony forces from the Homeland Security Companies have already been deployed in Brandenburg to search for fallen game in the fight against the animal disease. According to the vice president of the Landvolks Niedersachsen, Jörn Ehlers, with the storage of the quickly available fence for restriction areas "another step in ASP prevention" has been taken. He hopes, however, that the fence will not have to be used at all.

Lack of purchase commitments

In the event of an ASF outbreak, Ehlers called for a commitment from the slaughter industry to accept animals. Nationwide, there are so far only two slaughterhouses in Kellinghusen and Perleberg that have agreed to slaughter animals from the areas already affected by ASF in wild boar, he said. Consequently, pigs are piling up and market distortions are occurring. "In the case of an outbreak in domestic pigs, the main problem is that EU law wants to maintain exclusion zone III with a minimum radius of 10 km around the affected livestock for at least three months," the Landvolk vice president explained. Not a single slaughterhouse in Germany has so far agreed to slaughter animals from this zone, he said, because there is no market for this unjustly stigmatized meat.

In the process, live pigs - as well as their products - from ASF areas would be closely inspected and could only leave the zone free of the pathogen. "Many more slaughterhouses must already declare their willingness to accept animals from restriction zones in 'peacetime'," Ehlers affirmed. Politicians must also create legal framework conditions and sales opportunities for falsely "branded" products from restriction zones and, in the case of ASF in domestic pigs, significantly shorten the deadline for restriction zone III.

Complete district of Görlitz affected

Meanwhile, in Saxony, restriction zones had to be extended due to new ASF infections in feral pigs in Meißen County as well as in the western part of Bautzen County and the southern part of Görlitz County. According to the Ministry of Social Affairs last Friday, the endangered area with restriction zone II now extends in eastern Saxony to the entire district of Görlitz and parts of the district of Bautzen over a total of 2,742 km2. In addition to hunting restrictions, the responsible veterinary office must be notified of any pig husbandry in restricted zone II; free-range and outdoor husbandry of these animals is prohibited in restricted zone II.

In addition, the movement of pigs is prohibited, as is the re-housing or re-housing of pigs. Exceptions to this can only be approved by the district veterinary office. Fresh pork or pork products from animals in the endangered area also may not leave it. "Such a finding outside the previous restriction zones had not been ruled out. We have reacted quickly and want to limit the outbreak within the defined zones with the measures started immediately," explained the Saxon head of the ASP crisis team, Sebastian Vogel. He appealed to all hunters and pig farmers in this region to strictly comply with the biosecurity measures. AgE