Bulgaria is among EU leaders in the fight against African swine fever

Photo: BTA

TheEuropean Commission will start reimbursing the costs Bulgaria made to deal with the African swine fever, the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said in Sofia. Bulgaria has been applying strictly the measures recommended by the European services since the very beginning, Commissioner Andriukaitis added. There are some difficulties, because some people refuse to cooperate with the authorities. Only the stringent measures will help us combat the African swine fever, as it happened in the Czech Republic where the authorities eradicated completely this disease, Vytenis Andriukaitis underlined. Commissioner Andriukaitis participates at the 14th consecutive annual meeting of the Standing Group of Experts on African swine fever in Europe, which is taking place in Sofia. At the meeting experts from 14 countriesdiscussed future solutions that will become part of the global strategy against the African swine fever. So far, 10 countries have been affected by this disease. The situation is extremely worrying in five countries, including Bulgaria.

African swine fever is the most serious problem I have faced through the years. This is a global challenge and the problem is that scientists have not found a vaccine against the virus yet, Commissioner Andriukaitis said during the forum in Sofia and added:

The Ministers of Agriculture of all 28 EU member states are discussing this problem. The cooperation between the European countries has been developing and Bulgaria’s Minister of Agriculture Desislava Taneva is a leader in this initiative. I highly appreciate your role to deal with this problem and the measures your country undertakes. Bulgaria has been following strictly the recommendations of the European Commission, which are all based on science. Bulgaria applies very precisely all measures envisaged, but all countries must take their responsibility in the fight against the African swine fever. The purpose of this meeting was to boost institutional cooperation and prioritize the activities. We will continue to monitor the situation and be prepared for an adequate response.

According toCommissioner Andriukaitis, the African swine fever will be eradicated in at least 3 to 4 years. He reminded that the lack of adequate measures to combat African swine fever has brought enormous economic losses to some countries. Since August 16, no outbreaks of African swine fever have been registered in domestic pigs. Several cases of African swine fever have been reported in wild boar only and Bulgaria has been applying the usual measures which are part of the EU strategy to combat African swine fever since 2015, Bulgaria’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Desislava Taneva pointed out and added:

Out of all 33 outbreaks of African swine fever in domestic pigs, 7 cases were reported in industrial farms, 2 cases were registered in family farms and the rest of the cases were reported in backyard pigs. A total of 131,000 pigs were affected by the African swine fever, which is 20% of all domestic pigs in this country. According to calculations made on August 14, the costs made to fight against the registered outbreaks of African swine fever amount to EUR 23 million. I spoke with Commissioner Andriukaitisand if these calculations are approved, we can expect that the EU will reimburse 75% of the money Bulgaria paid to combat this disease. The Bulgarian government provided enough financial resource to eradicate all registered outbreaks of the virus.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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