Poland’s agriculture minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski proposed that the army and police should be allowed to shoot wild boars on a large scale in areas affected by the African swine fever.
Ardanowski wants to shoot any wild boar, also the ones that are healthy and not infected. He thinks this is the only way to prevent the disease from spreading.
But scientists have challenged this belief. Professor Henryk Okarma and doctor Katarzyna Bojarska from the Polish Academy of Science wrote in a report that no scientific study has shown a correlation between boar concentrations and the spread of African swine fever.
Ardanowski said that anyone obstructing the preventive killing of the animals in marked areas would be punished.
The virus appeared in the east of Poland last year. Affected areas were fenced off at first, but the disease spread and around 180.000 wild boars were killed to contain it. The move was condemned by environmentalists, who tried to block it. Many hunters also objected, calling the mass killing of all wild boars ‘sick’.
Last week the disease was found in a dead boar in a western region near the town of Wolsztyn where there are also many pig farms. The area is being fenced off, but Ardanowski still thinks that massive shootings are necessary.
He said he would submit the draft law to parliament in the coming weeks for quick processing. It was not clear when it could take effect if approved.
African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually deadly. Humans can’t get the disease.
Source: Associated Press