The Czech authorities have registered the first ever cases of African swine fever in the country. The disease, which does not affect humans, was found in two dead wild boars that may have crossed the border into the Zlín region. Special monitoring of the wild boar population has been introduced, officials said on Tuesday. If domesticated pigs catch the disease they have to be put down and cordons placed around the farms in question.
Ustí nad Labem is offering a 300 crown reward for every wild boar shot within the city limits where they are not supposed to be. The reward is part of the city’s policy to curb the boar population which regularly makes its way into the centre and suburbs. One animal even made into the central city polyclinic before being put down by a vet. Around 50 cases of damage caused by wild boar have been declared this year. Parks and recreation fields are frequent victims of boar digging as they search for food. The mayor has highlighted the fact that it’s not easy to shoot the animals in built up areas.
Tereza Mináriková is a zoologist, who spent a number of years heading the Conservation Policies Unit of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic. She is now with the NGO Alka Wildlife, serving as a manager of research projects; she is also a specialist in carnivorous wildlife, and has a particular passion for lynxes.
Livestock numbers in the Czech Republic fell by more than half over the last 30 years, according to information released by the Czech Statistics Office. The number of cattle fell to just 40 percent of 1987 levels and pigs to around 36 percent. Farmers have warned that more breeding farms could close unless they receive broader support. The government recently outlined in its agriculture road map until 2030 plans to improve the situation.
Pig breeding in southern Moravia is reported to be down by 11 percent in the first quarter, according to the Czech Statistics Office. Pig breeding has suffered a serious setback due to severe competition within the EU, low meat prices and the Russian embargo. Pig farms around the country have been reducing animal numbers and are now only able to cover half of the country’s port consumption.
The Czech Agriculture Ministry is considering additional extraordinary support of more than 400,000 crowns from the state budget for pork and milk producers, Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said on Monday. The minister was speaking at the Žofín Forum. But additional support would have to be approved by the European Commission. Pork output in the Czech Republic last year fell by 3.5 percent, mainly as a result of cheap imports. According to Minister Jurečka, the current situation at pig farms in the country is critical. Owing to cheap imports, Czech producers often sell pork below their production costs. Czech cattle and pig farmers are already receiving extraordinary support at the amount of 600 million crowns, half of which comes from the state budget and half from EU funds. Cattle breeders were grappling with low purchasing prices of milk last year. Prices dropped owing to overproduction in Europe, which was caused by the abolition of milk production quotas and also as a result of the continuing Russian embargo on food imports.
A woman hospitalized with swine flu in the town of Chomutov has died, according to a local daily. The woman reportedly died of multiple organ failure. According to the hospital another woman with the swine flu is fighting for her life. An epidemic of the swine flu broke out at the end of last year in Ukraine where 253 people have died of related complications.
A new law due to come into force next year will make it possible to hunt wild boar of all ages and genders throughout the year, rather than from the start of August to the end of December as at present. The wild boar population has overbred in recent years due to mild winters and has been causing damages to farmers to the tune of billions of crowns.