Shooting wild boars will not eliminate ASF. Scientists appeal to the prime minister to reverse the decision

As early as Saturday, January 12, a mass wild boar cull is to begin across Poland. The measures are aimed at combating the African swine fever virus. However, as a group of scientists points out in an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the massive hunt will have the opposite effect of what was intended.

With the idea of shooting wild boarsoin the Gł came outowny Veterinary Inspectorate, and recommended by the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture. As the head of the Ministry of Agriculture stated, the cull is necessary to bring African swine fever (ASF) under control. Up to 210,000 wild boar may fall in mass huntsow, while the entire Polish population is estimated at 215,000.

However, the measures recommended by both ministries and the Govowny Veterinary Inspectorate will have dire economic and environmental consequences – note experts professionally involved in the protection and management of natural environmental resources, including forestry and hunting management. It is a group of scientistsow associated with institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences. They wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki calling for an immediate halt to the planned mass and large-scale cullsoin the wild boarow.

„Massive culling of wild boaroIn the framework of collective hunting will not ensure the realization of the purpose it is intended to serve, i.e. stopping the expansion of the ASF virus. Contrary – zarowno guidelines of the European Food Safety Authority. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as well as national practice, indicate that massive hunting of wild boar is a major contributor to the spread of the virus. This is done by increasing the range ofoin the movement of frightened animals, whichore infecting more individuals, contaminating the environment with the blood of infected wild boarsoin, ktora can be a source ofodło new infections, and more frequent contact with the blood and remains of infected wild boarsow by hunters, without the possibility of effective decontamination under hunting conditions. Increased mobility of hunters in mass shootingsow can lead to long-distance transmission of the virus” – reads the letter to the head of government.

To confirm their wordsow researchers cite statistics. Despite conducting intensive sanitary culling in 2015-2017, when nearly 1 million wild boar were culled in Polandow, the number of cases has been gradually increasingoin the ASF virus infection in the population of these animals. In 2015. only 44 cases were recorded, in 2017 there were already 678 cases. Not only has the virus not been stopped by mass shooting of wild boarsoin, but had excellent conditions for spreading. In 2018. 3300 cases have already been identifiedoin ASF in wild boarow.

African pomoThe r of pigs is a viral disease, whichor is characterized by a high mortality rate. It is highly contagious and can remain in the environment for a long time. The virus can survive in carrion for up to a month. The disease affects wild boars and pigs and does not threaten humans or other animals.

SourceoASF is spread by diseased wild boars and pigs, but the disease is also spread by other animals, as well as by humans. It can be brought to the piggery by a hunter or forester, whoory being in the forest stepped with a shoe into the wall of theomeadow, where the viruses were located. It could even be his dog. Viruses can also be transmitted on objects, ktore have had contact with the secretions of infected individualsow. Possible drog transmissions are many, they can even be flies, whichore previously feeding on infected carrion.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for ASF, and the infected herd is not treated, but immediately destined for culling. Researchers point out that the most effective way to prevent the disease is bioinsurance. Unfortunately, with this one in Poland is fragile. „The real reason for the development of ASF in Poland is the lack of bioassurance and insufficient sanitary control in the swine industry. 2017 NIK report. indicates that in Poland the ASF bioassurance program was poorly prepared and unreliably implemented: 74 percent. farms lacked the necessary safeguards, the program was implemented sluggishly, and veterinary inspection protocols – often falsified to create the appearance ofoin securing pig herds against ASF. As a result, the disease has not been stopped and is spreading to more provincesodztwa. In November 2017. The virus has crossed the Vistula line” – reads the letter to the prime minister.

Scientists in the letter indicate roalso that the culling of almost the entire wild boar population in Poland could have natural consequences that are difficult to predict. You have to reckon with the disruption of the ecosystemoin forested areas, which can have negative consequences for forest management and public health. Wild boars are omnivorous animals and play a sanitary role in forests. They also have a significant impact on the environment. They spread at least seeds or eat insects that are pests of trees. They constitute roAlso natural food for the wolf. We will get rid of wild boarow, then there will be a problem with wolves and probably with insects and pathogens transmitted by rodents to humans, such as Lyme disease and tick-borne m inflammationozgu.

„We are of the opinion that in order to achieve the goal of stopping the ASF epidemic in Poland, the sham and costly measure of mass shooting of wild boars should be urgently abandonedow. Experts from the State Veterinary Institute in Puławy indicate that all new outbreaks of swine virus infection in Poland are the result of human transmission of the virus” – indicate the researchers in a letter.

Scientists propose, first of all, to take effective and decisive measures to ensure the highest standards ofoin bioassurance. They also postulate the introduction of a viable mechanism tooin finding fallen specimensoin this species. This is a key part of the strategy to reduce the long-term persistence of this disease in the environment.

„We call for the immediate withdrawal of the decision on reduction hunting of wild boaroin and implementation of alternative measures on the basis of scientific knowledge and expert opinions (aimed at the actual mechanism of ASF spread associated with conscious or unconscious human involvement), aimed at stopping the further spread of this disease in Poland. At the same time, we declare our readiness to participate in the work of preventing the spread of the ASF virus in Poland” – write the researchers.