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Pork prices skyrocket and culls begin as ASF hits 17,000 head herd in Bulgaria

On Saturday (20 July) Bulgaria confirmed an outbreak of African swine fever at a breeding farm which housed 17,000 pigs.

23 July 2019, at 10:25am

Such a catastrophic outbreak will now result in around 17,000 pigs being culled reports local news station, Bulgarian National Television (BNT). A spokeswoman for the national food safety authority told Reuters that all home-raised pigs in a three-kilometre quarantine zone, established around the farm in the village of Nikolovo, might also be culled.

A BNT report says that the culled animals will be buried in the region of the farm and that further biosecurity measures will be put in place to limit further spread of the disease: incoming and outgoing vehicles will be subject to disinfection and trade of pigs within the 10-kilometre disease isolation zone is prohibited for six months.

The mayor of the village of Nikolovo said that the culling of the pigs is the best way to limit the spread of African swine fever but that it was a last resort. He commented that the virus was most likely introduced to the commercial herd in feed.

With the sudden cease in production and trade from some of Bulgaria's largest pork producers, the price of pork has increased by 19 stotinki a kilogram according to The Sofia Globe. The average price for a kilogram of pork is 7.60 leva, seven stotinki higher than this period in 2018.

Pork is widely produced and consumed in Bulgaria, accounting for around 80 percent of the country's total meat production.