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Germany’s farmers call for wild boar cull

17 January 2018, at 12:00am

The German Farmers’ Association have called for 70% of the country’s wild boar population to be culled in a strategy to halt disease escalation.

In an interview with the Rheinische Post, deputy head of the German Farmers’ Association, Werner Schwarz, insisted that the close season on hunting wild boar needed to be lifted in order to ensure that huge numbers of wild boar could be killed.

The boar cull would take place as an attempt to control the spread of African swine fever (ASF), a disease that has had numerous cases confirmed in Central and Eastern Europe and over the past six months. In 2017 alone, over ten countries worldwide identified ASF in both wild and domestic swine herds, including Poland and the Czech Republic - close neighbours of Germany.

In order to evade a possible outbreak on German soil, 70% of wild boar would need to be culled, including mothers and young boar, Schwarz said. He added that a cull is more humane than allowing animals to die naturally of the disease.

Schwarz could not confirm how many animals would be killed in such a wide-scale cull, but highlighted that Berlin alone has a wild boar population estimated to be between 3,000 and 8,000 individuals.

Speaking to the Rheinische Post, Agriculture Minister, Christian Schmidt (CSU), said he was in favour of the plan:

In order to achieve aims on the reduction of wild boar numbers we need to lift the close season on hunting.

The price for pork could drop by 30 percent if that were the case. That would lead to losses of billions of euros in the meat industry.

These statements have sparked controversy with animal and environment protection agencies. James Brückner, German Environment and Nature Protection Association, rejected the claim that a cull is the best method of population control, and insisted that the only way to achieve this is to diversify agricultural production. He argued that Germany’s 2.5 million hectares of corn fields has provided boars with an ideal habitat and has been the cause of their population explosion.

Sources: The Local Germany; Rheinische Post