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Belarus bans Russian pork imports over ASF fears

By Vladislav Vorotnikov , 26-Jul-2012

Belarus has banned imports of pork from the Tver and Volgograd regions of Russia due to the unprecedented spread of African swine fever (ASF).

“The department of veterinary and food supervisory has decided to prohibit imports of live pigs, pork and its products into the territory of Belarus from the Tver and Volgograd regions,” said chief state veterinary inspector of the Republic of Belarus Yury Pyvovarchyk.

The press service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Belarus added: “The ban also applies to leather, horns, hooves and intestinal material, hog wool, wild boar, hunting trophies, animal feed and feed additives for animals, as well as equipment used for the maintenance, slaughter and butchering of pigs.”

There have been nine registered outbreaks of ASF in Russia in the past two weeks, one of which was the largest in the history of the disease in the country. On 24 July, an outbreak of ASF was detected in the Zavolzhsky district, where there are currently 155,500 heads of pigs. Experts from the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) have implemented emergency steps to localise the outbreak.

According to preliminary official estimates, just the direct damage of the outbreak will amount to RUB1.5bn to RUB2bn rubles (US$48m-$62m). Analysts warned that this would be a terrible blow to pork production in Russia.

Russian veterinary services said that the implementation of the Belarus ban was not necessary, since the export of pork products from Tver and Volgograd regions are already strictly prohibited. However, experts fear that the virus will spread farther – with the neighboring Moscow, Yaroslavl, Novgorod, Smolensk and Pskov regions under the threat. These regions are now taking emergency measures to prevent the introduction of ASF.

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