Germany plans wild boar-free zone to combat swine fever, asks Poland to help


HAMBURG, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Germany plans a wild boar-free zone along the Polish border to counter African swine fever (ASF) and on Thursday called on Poland to help more in countering the pig disease.

Wild boars wondering into Germany from Poland spread ASF, which is harmless to humans but fatal for pigs and causes major loss of pork exports for countries where the disease is present.

Germany has presented the European Commission with a plan for a protective corridor between two fences to counter the spread, the agriculture ministry said.

In the zone inside the two fences the wild boar population would be reduced to zero by intensified hunting, with searches made for dead wild boar and their bodies removed.

China and other pork buyers banned imports of German pork in September 2020 after the first ASF case was confirmed in wild animals.

Some 2,184 ASF cases have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany since the disease was confirmed, all in the eastern states of Brandenburg and Saxony along the border with Poland, where ASF is widespread. There were also cases on three small farms.

Germany has already built hundreds of kilometres of anti-wild boar fencing along the Polish border but Poland has not built its own fencing, despite German requests.

“An expansion of our protective corridor concept on the Polish side would be an effective method to prevent the spreading of ASF westwards,” German junior agriculture minister Beate Kasch said in a statement. “Sadly, Poland is still not prepared to move on this.”

“Germany has offered personnel, organisational and financial support. We will continue talks on this and work to persuade (Poland), as cross-border cooperation in the fight against ASF is important - with also responsibility for the whole of Europe.”

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by)

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