The next hazard to hogs: human curiosity

Photographers. The picture is illustrative.


Agriculture ministry says the public has overheated with interests towards African swine fever: journalists and others need to consider that by thronging near burial sites they endanger the swine that are well.

The ministry’s PR-chief Kristo Mäe said it is a tough job burying the killed pigs and the presence of other persons serves to boost probability of fever spreading. «The journalists move about a lot,» explained Mr Mäe. «Until the swine get buried, better not get near these sites,» he said.

«Up to a limit, the interest is natural and understandable, as with the swine fever we have to do with an extraordinary incident,» he continued. «On the other hand, the thoroughness with which it is being covered, is too much: in the morning they called from various media outlets and asked where exactly the pigs will be buried so they could show up and film it,» he said to bring an example.

Yesterday, about 3,000 pigs got buried in Pikru Village at Tarvastu Parish, Viljandi County – with environmental safety guaranteed. «Of all variants available, the burial site is the best being nearest to the Nukike pig farm from where the carcases are brought – thereby, the trip is short and the probability of the fever spreading smaller,» said Environmental Board press rep Sille Ader.

Even the pigs buried at Torma a few days ago are no danger to groundwater or the environment, environmental minister Marko Pomerants claimed yesterday. «That has been the Torma landfill site for years and therefore environmental impact assessments are constant; it has been proven that the transmission of the ground is low, and it contains sand clay moraine which keeps the pollution away from groundwater,» explained Mr Pomerants, adding he was ready to drink water from wells near burial sites.

The minister said driven hunt for wild swine will be legalised to fight the fever. Here, Mr Pomerants deems it important that the meat gotten by hunting be used up. «I am of the importance that the meat must reach sausages or canned food,» he said.

Veterinary and Food Board said they are considering disinfecting foot mats in the ports on islands, to keep the swine fever from reaching untouched regions.

The board’s director-general Ago Pärtel said the virus has not made it to the westernmost county of Läänemaa yet, and therefore the mats have not been installed thus far.

Mr Pärtel thinks the mats would slow down movement of people between mainland and isles. «The other facet of the medal being: the ferryboat queues, problematic as they are, would be even longer,» he said.