EU official: Boar hunting should stop until African swine fever vax is developed

Hunting of infected boars is being blamed for the spread of African swine fever in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, according to a top European Commission animal health official, who also rebuffed claims the agency isn't doing enough to fight the virus.

Ultimately, a vaccine to fight ASF will become available, Bernard Van Goethem, the European Commission's director for Health and Consumer Protection recently told a meeting of the European Parliament, according to Pig Progress. "There has been ongoing research for the last 20 years. I'm confident a vaccine will become available." 

Until then, Van Goethem said instead of hunting them, they should be allowed to die where they are. "This is 5 times more efficient than hunting them," he said.

The Commission also came under fire during the meeting from members of the European Parliament (MEPs), who said there hadn't been sufficient compensation for farmers who have lost animals due to the fever. That criticism was rebuffed by the commission that cited that it spent €2.5 million ($3.1 million) in 2013 on swine ASF compensation and that €3.5 million ($4.4 million) is currently available this year for the four affected member states.

Meanwhile, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization is working with Chinese animal health officials to develop a strategy to monitor and counter the potential spread of ASF in that country, as well as other areas in Asia.

- see the Pig Progress story (sub. req.)