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African swine fever: 300 pig farmers in exclusion zone

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Status: 03.07.2022 6:40 p.m.

After the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in a company in Emsbüren (Emsland), there are no signs of an outbreak in other companies.

This was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture of Lower Saxony. Laboratory results of random samples from a contact farm are expected on Monday. “Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time,” Minister Barbara Otte-Kinast (CDU) said on Saturday at a specially called press conference in Hanover. It is “a heavy emotional blow for the pig farmers of our country”. The Emsbüren farm raised 280 sows and around 1,500 piglets. All should be killed on Sunday. Everything is being done to contain the outbreak, Otte-Kinast said.

Swine fever in Emsland: exclusion zone set up around 300 companies

Because the region is one of the densest livestock areas in the country, the ministry has set up a ten-kilometre exclusion zone around the company. In addition to parts of the district of Emsland, this also includes areas of the county of Bentheim. The transport of pigs is initially prohibited in the area and all stocks are initially checked regularly for further cases. According to the ministry, about 300 pig farmers with 200,000 animals are affected by the restrictions. It cannot be excluded that other animals should be slaughtered as a precaution.

Counties prepare orders

The districts of Emsland and Grafschaft Bentheim want to publish corresponding decrees which should come into force on Tuesday. This includes, among other things, a housing requirement for pig farms, a ban on the transport of pigs and strict hygiene measures.

Halter had noticed symptoms in breeding sows

According to Otte-Kinast, it is still unclear how African swine fever could have been introduced into the animal population. The experienced owner noticed symptoms in the breeding sows and therefore consulted the farm veterinarian. Due to the suspicion of African swine fever, he sent samples to the State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (LAVES), which confirmed the suspicion. On Saturday morning, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI), which is responsible for animal diseases, verified the discovery.


Georg Meiners, President Landvolk Emsland, in an Skpe interview.  © NDR

1 minute

A case of African swine fever has been confirmed in Emsland. Georg Meiners calls for calm and solidarity. (03/07/2022) 1 min

Great uncertainty among pig farmers in the region

The epidemic has shaken pig farmers in the region. Many are shocked and puzzled about what is to come, Georg Meiners of the Emsland peasants told the NDR in Lower Saxony. Overall, there is great uncertainty. Many now hoped it was an isolated case – and that the virus could be stopped by culling all the pigs there. In this case, just wait a while – and everything will be fine again, says Meiners. But if the virus has already spread, it is difficult to contain the situation. “You really only have the option of killing the company involved – and then hoping, ‘We’ve stopped it,'” Meiners said.

Industry hopes for vaccination, associations on the end of intensive farming

The agricultural trade association AEF hopes that the outbreak in Emsland will remain an isolated case and calls on politicians to provide a vaccine against African swine fever. The environmental organization Greenpeace and the association for the protection of animals, meanwhile, are calling for a rethinking of animal husbandry. According to her, the underlying problem is the high density of animals in the area. Infections cannot be controlled there.

ASF detected for the first time in Germany in 2020

The first case of African swine fever in Germany was confirmed on September 10, 2020 – in a wild boar from Brandenburg. Since then outbreaks have been discovered in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony. In mid-July last year, swine fever spread to domestic pigs in livestock for the first time in this country – again in Brandenburg.

No vaccine or cure for pigs

African swine fever is a contagious viral disease in domestic and feral pigs that is almost always fatal and incurable. So far, there is no way to protect pigs with preventive vaccination. The disease can be transmitted directly from animal to animal or indirectly from humans to other areas via contaminated objects such as clothing, shoes and food. African swine fever is harmless to humans and other animals.

More information

Archive image: Till Backhaus, Minister of Agriculture of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.  ©screenshot

The Minister of Agriculture of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania also called on hunters to continue hunting wild boar. (07/03/2022) more

The fence against the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) is driven into a hall with a forklift.  © dpa Photo: Philipp Schulze

Rotenburg, Stade and Verden have signed a contract for protective fencing with Cuxhaven and Osterholz. After

Anytime to listen

The historic town hall of Osnabrück.  © City of Osnabrück, Media and Public Relations Department Photo: Dr. Sven Jürgensen

8 minutes

You can hear what’s important in your area in the 3 p.m. regional news recording on NDR 1 Lower Saxony. 8 minutes

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Hello Lower Saxony | 07/03/2022 | 7:30 p.m.

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