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If you follow Polish news, you probably heard about the plans to slaughter some of the wild boars, because of African Swine Fever they may spread. African Swine Fever – or ASF – is a deadly virus found in pigs. It was detected in around 3,200 wild boars and pigs in different locations across Poland between February 2014 and last summer, according to the Polish news agency PAP.
It is not harmful to humans, but is almost always fatal for pigs (świnie) and boars (dziki). Killing the boars is a way of protecting farm pigs and meat production from the deadly African swine fever. The disease, which is spreading in eastern Poland, threatens Europe’s pork industry.
The government’s decision to shoot about 200,000 wild boars this hunting season has drawn wide public protests but veterinary and Polish environment officials insist it’s an approved method.
Massive boar hunts are planned for remaining weekends this month. Last year, the country’s veterinary officials approved a plan to kill 185,000 wild boars this season, and the country’s PZL hunting union said it had already killed 168,000 since last April. The government has recently decided to speed up the process by calling all licensed hunters to go out seeking wild boars, including pregnant females, over weekends this month.
Of course planned wild boar cull in Poland angers conservationists. Conservationists have branded plans as “pointless, counterproductive and evil”.
Mikołaj Golachowski, a biologist and conservationist who has been outspoken about the government’s plans, said killing the animals would cause enormous damage to the country’s ecosystem. When wild boars forage, they aerate the soil allowing seeds to germinate and also feed on rodents and insect larvae, meaning their absence could lead to an increase in these populations. “They are a very important part of the ecosystem, and there is also the ethical question of slaughtering innocent animals for something that is not going to achieve any purpose. In every aspect it’s a terrible idea, and it’s also evil,” he said.
Environmental groups, keen to show the government that there are other voters who strongly oppose the plans, have organised a series of street demonstrations and online protests against the cull.
The European Union’s executive body is supporting Poland’s slaughter of wild boars as a way of protecting farm pigs and meat production from the deadly African swine fever.
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