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German farmers face possible pig culls as African Swine Fever (ASF) discovered

German farmers have been ordered to enact a series of crisis measures after the discovery of the country’s first case of African swine fever (ASF).

There had been concern that ASF would spread from Poland into German wild boars and this is case confirmed the facts.

Germany’s minster of agriculture had raised concerns that there was the first suspected case in Brandenburg. “As soon as the analysis is completed, Federal (Agriculture) Minister Julia Kloeckner will provide information about the results tomorrow,” the ministry added.

The arrival of the highly infectious disease, found in the cadaver of a wild boar close to the German border with Poland in the state of Brandenburg, is a devastating blow to farmers who have been at pains for several years to keep it at bay.

While ASF poses no immediate danger to humans, it can be spread quickly by animals and humans and is usually fatal in farm pigs and wild boars.

An area of at least 3km around where the cadaver was found is expected to be fenced off.Germany had feared a spread of the disease after cases were confirmed in wild boars in west Poland in past months with one Polish case found only about 10 km (6.21 miles) from the German border.

Cases have also been recently confirmed in about 10 other European countries in wild boars which are suspected to be spreading the disease.

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A strict hunting ban in the area of the Spree-Neisse district as well as a ban on harvesting corn in a radius of 15km has also been ordered. Agricultural events and folk festivals involving pigs are to be cancelled and dog walkers are banned from walking their dogs in the area.

Farmers face the prospect of a ban on exports of pork to non-EU countries. Asia is a huge market for German pig farmers, worth billions of euros.

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A spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) to Germany was considered to only be a matter of time, after the discovery in March of the virus in western Poland, around 10km from the German border.

As a result, Brandenburg authorities erected a 120km-long electric pasture fence in an attempt to prevent wild boars from crossing the river there.

Source: Guardian