Italy culls over 30,000 pigs to counter swine fever

Culls took place on 12 farms in the region of Lombardy
calendar icon 21 September 2023
clock icon 1 minute read

Almost 34,000 pigs at 12 farms in the northern Italian region of Lombardy have been culled to counter the spread of African swine fever (ASF), Reuters reported, citing a spokesperson for the region on Wednesday.

Lombardy is the Italian region with the largest number of bred pigs. The outbreak appears to mark an intensification of a wave of the disease first detected in Italy in 2022.

"In Lombardy there are half of the pigs bred in Italy, around 5 million out of a total of 10 million Italian pigs," the regional government spokesperson said.

"Our objective is to extinguish this outbreak .. so that the problem does not become a danger for the supply chain of the entire Italian sector," the spokesperson said, adding that the risk of a further spread seems to have been averted for now.

African swine fever is harmless to humans but often fatal to pigs, leading to financial losses for farmers. It originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia and has killed hundreds of millions of pigs worldwide.

Since 2022, African swine fever in Italy has mainly hit wild boars, with a few isolated cases in pigs, said Francesco Feliziani, head of the National Centre for Swine Flu.

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