Estonian minister of agriculture: pig plague is here

PHOTO: Elmo Riig / Sakala

After a meeting with hunters and swine farmers yesterday, minister of agriculture Ivari Padar (SDE, soc dems) underlined the high likelihood of the African pig plague virus being already present in Estonia.

«We have to do the maximum to better accept that. For me, it is not the question of whether the plague or virus is coming here. No, the virus is here. If this has happened with two wild swine ten kilometres from the Estonian border, then this means it is here. We are in a new situation,» said the minister.

Mr Padar assured all the ministry is constantly monitoring the situation and stands ready to react at once as the issue arises.

Veterinary and Food Board director-general Ago Pärtel said they have been doing preventive informational work towards pig farmers for almost a year, and are planning to further intensify the effort.

Teet Soorm, CEO of Rakvere Lihakombinaat (Meat processing Plant) and Rakvere Farmid, said the government was late in reacting to the pig plague.

«The decisions should have been taken earlier. When in the winter we addressed agriculture ministry and environment ministry, on behalf of pig raisers, already then the honourable politicians ought to have reacted and taken serious thought, because already then it was clear to the pig farmers how fast the virus was travelling,» said Mr Soorm.

In Latvia, Lithuania and Poland several African pig plague cases were diagnosed during July. Up to now, no cases have been diagnosed in Estonia, but a 40 kilometre buffer zone has been declared at the Latvian border.