EU Spokeswoman Urges Action to Save Bulgarian Pork Industry

Piglets ( Jo WIndmann )

A European Union Commission spokeswoman said the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Bulgaria “is worrying” and urged action against this catastrophic disease on Thursday.

Bulgaria is one of the EU’s poorest states and has reported more than 30 outbreaks of the disease to date, resulting in around 130,000 culled pigs so far, Reuters reports. Experts fear Bulgaria could lose its entire 600,000 pig breeding industry to this devastating virus.

Bulgarian industry officials fear the outbreak could cause damages of up to $1.15 billion. 

The EU's head of health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, offered EU support to Bulgaria after meeting with the country's agriculture minister Desislava Taneva on Tuesday. Taneva said Bulgaria will receive $3.25 million in EU financial aid to help fight the disease.

Meanwhile in China, Rabobank predicts the ASF virus could take out up to 50% of the country’s pig population by the end of the year.

The ASF virus, which does not have a vaccine or cure in pigs, is harmless to humans and poses no food safety risk. 

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