ASF Nears; France to Cull All Wild Boars at Belgium Border

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France is culling all wild boars in a zone along the Belgian border to avoid an outbreak of African swine fever after two new cases were discovered within a kilometer of the border in Belgium on Jan. 9.

Since the virus was confirmed last September in wild boar along Belgium’s border, France has been on alert for this deadly, highly transmissible disease, Reuters reported. 

“The confirmation of two cases of African swine fever on Jan. 9, 2019, in Belgium at about 1 km from the border, leaves our country more exposed than ever to this major risk for pig farming,” a ministry statement said. “We are now at a maximum risk level.”

France will create a boar-free zone that spans for several miles on its side of the border by culling all wild boars in the coming weeks and putting up a perimeter fence in the next few days, the ministry said.

ASF can be carried by wild boars, but experts also stress that human factors such as transport, clothing and food waste can play a role in spreading the disease.

In Poland, hunters are protesting what they call “excessive measures” to cull 185,000 wild boars across the country in an attempt to thwart the spread of ASF, which they’ve been facing in recent years. 

With no vaccination or treatment in sight for this the highly transmissible virus, authorities are beginning to impose export restrictions on pork, Reuters reported.

Last year’s ASF outbreak in Belgium’s wild boars indicated a sudden jump in the spread of the virus in Europe, increasing the risk it would reach large pork-production countries like Germany, France and Spain.

Surveillance measures are increasing in Belgium’s French-speaking region of Wallonia since last week, extending the restriction zone on its side of the French border.

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