Georgian, Abkhaz and Russian officials to meet over ASF

GEORGIA - Veterinary officials from the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture will meet with their Abkhaz and Russian colleagues on today to discuss the outbreak of a devastating pig disease, African Swine Fever (ASF), in the breakaway region.
calendar icon 23 August 2007
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Lasha Orkoshneli, the head of the food safety and risk analysis unit at the Ministry of Agriculture, will represent Georgia at the meeting, which will take place in Gali, in the breakaway region.

The outbreak of ASF was first reported in Georgia in early June; more than 30,000 pigs died and a total of 22,000 pigs were culled by mid-June, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Abkhaz officials have accused Georgia of not properly handling the crisis. Some Abkhaz officials have even accused the Georgian side of deliberately throwing dead, diseased pigs into the Kodori river running from the Tbilisi-controlled upper Kodori Gorge down to Abkhaz-controlled territories. The chief veterinarian of the breakaway region, Erik Anshba, said it amounted to “biological terrorism.“

The Georgian Ministry of Agriculture has, however, dismissed the allegation as “absurd.“

African Swine Fever, which is highly contagious among pigs, results in high pig mortality, as there is no vaccine against the disease. It does not, however, affect humans.

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