Press conference concerning the African swine fever on Wednesday afternoon. / © Frank Elsen
Following the St Hubert hunters' federation's criticism of the government concerning curbing the spread of African swine fever on Tuesday evening, the government reacted on Wednesday afternoon.
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the government presented its concrete measures to combat the spread of African swine fever. Minister of Agriculture Romain Schneider and Minister for the Environment Carole Dieschbourg specified the action taken by the government, which is in the form of three new measures.
The ministers stressed that the government is working to the best of its abilities to keep African swine fever out of the country. As of next week, an electric fence is being built south of Steinfort. At the same time, the area between the Belgian and Luxembourgish fences will be considered a buffer strip to prevent wild boars from staying in the area. The ministers have also expressed a need to provide the public and, more specifically, pig farmers, with more information.
The authorities have been exchanging information with neighbouring counterparts for months, leading to the conclusion that the three measures make up additional protection, but do not constitute a 100% guaranty that Luxembourg's swine population will remain immune.
As for the buffer strip, the government is working on a regulation which will quickly be processed by the government council. According to Dieschbourg, the buffer strip is a sanitary measure. In a next step, the goal will be to cull the wild boar population in the buffer strip.
The Nature Conservation Agency had already alerted the authorities to African swine fever in 2014. Dieschbourg explained that the authorities have been attempting to reach the minimum shooting quotas for years, albeit not always successfully.
In general, Schneider stressed, hunters are still allowed to shoot wild boars. He also explained that as soon as the issue concerning African swine fever was raised, the government began preparing a number of scenarios. The ministers confirmed that the government had met with the authorities in the neighbouring regions.
From left to right: Dr. Félix Wildschutz, director of the Veterinary Services Administration, Romain Schneider, Minister of Agriculture, Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment, Mike Wagner, chief adviser for the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and Sustainable Development, and Laurent Schley, joint director of the Nature Conservation Agency. / © MA