First EU case of ASF in domestic pigs found
Last week it was announced that Latvia had become the third EU country to confirm cases of African Swine Fever
Last week it was announced that Latvia had become the third EU country to confirm cases of African Swine Fever. As in the previous outbreaks in Lithuania and Poland, the cases were close to the border with Belarus. However, this time, as well as five wild boar, three domestic ‘backyard’ pigs were also infected. This is the first time that ASF has been found in domestic pigs on the EU mainland. Because of the proximity to the Belarusian border, the region where the new outbreak was found was already subject to control measures.
Latvia is not a major pig producing country. As at December 2013, it had a total of 368,000 domestic pigs, including 47,000 breeding pigs; only five EU Member States had fewer pigs. The country is around 50% self-sufficient in pig meat, with domestic production around 38,000 tonnes in 2013 and with 70,000 tonnes consumed (around 35kg per head). Imports come mainly from Poland, Germany, Denmark and the other Baltic States. The few exports (only 6,000 tonnes of pork last year) are mainly destined for Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria and Ukraine. Latvia used to export significant numbers of slaughter pigs to Russia but this trade stopped a couple of years ago, with many Latvian pigs now moved to Lithuania or Poland for slaughter or finishing.