EU and Russia still at loggerheads over ASF

By Keith Nuthall

- Last updated on GMT

EU agricultural commissioner Phil Hogan publically criticised Russia's pork ban
EU agricultural commissioner Phil Hogan publically criticised Russia's pork ban
African Swine Fever (ASF) cases continue to be reported in eastern Europe, making it tough for an agreement to be reached between Moscow and Brussels on lifting trade controls.

Russia has banned European Union (EU) exports of pigmeat and pigs since January 2014 over concerns about outbreaks of ASF in Poland and the Baltic States. EU imports of pigmeat are negligible at 17,775 tonnes for January-June 2015, 57% of which came from Switzerland.

The EU has since sparked a disputes proceeding at the World Trade Organisation​ (WTO), which has ruled on the issue​, but has yet to make its decision public. Meanwhile, spats have continued between Brussels and Moscow, with EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan branding the ban “protectionist​” at a European Parliament meeting.

Data on ASF cases released by the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) will not make either side want to give ground. The OIE issued its 105th incident report of ASF in Poland covering the current outbreak, as recently as June 25. It noted that five wild boars had died of the disease in Hajnowski county, on the Belarus border. Meanwhile, on June 22, 256 pigs were destroyed on a farm in the same country, after five pigs on the unit had died of the disease.

Ongoing problems

Meanwhile, the OIE also released its 95th report of ASF cases in Lithuania during the current outbreak, with 20 wild boars discovered with the disease in the districts of Birzai, Kaisiadorys, Anykscai, Trakai, Moletai, Kaunas and Utena. Of these, 13 died from the disease and seven were destroyed. This followed the discovery of ASF in three pigs in the capital Vilnius. They were all destroyed.

Russia has its own ongoing problems too, with the OIE releasing its 95th report on the country’s ASF cases in June. This included a village outbreak in Ryazhsky, south-east of Moscow, where four pigs died of the disease and 10 were destroyed; another village pig outbreak in Shatursky, east of Moscow with 40 destroyed and one death from the disease; and 19 deaths of wild board from ASF at Melenkovsky, also east of Moscow.

The disease also seems to be taking hold in Ukraine, where the OIE has reported the destruction of 114 pigs on a farm in Pervomaiskiy, eastern Ukraine, where nine pigs also died of the disease – again in late June.

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