Finland is considering drastic measures to stop the entry of the African swine fever pest into that country in order to safeguard continued exports of pork.
The existence of wild boars in Finland is a risk and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Jaana Husu-Kallio told national broadcaster Yle on Nov. 25 that eradication of the Finnish wild boar population is not ruled out.
“If the swine pest enters Finland, then we could forget the visions of exporting Finnish pork to areas outside the EU,” she said. “Even one confirmed infection in the wild boar population would have a decisive impact.”
African swine fever has spread rapidly in recent years to Poland, Russia, Latvia and Lithuania. There have been some cases in Estonia, but none in Finland. Finnish pork producers are looking for new markets outside the EU, in the wake of Russian restrictions.
African swine fever is caused by a virus and there is no current cure, but the infected pigs perish. However, the natural hosts of the virus such as wild boars may show no signs of the infection. The virus is not contagious to humans.
There are at least 500 wild boars in Finland. They are hunted as a sport. The population is densest in southeastern Finland, near the Russian border. The hunters’ organizations oppose a total eradication.