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Prevention of African swine fever intensified – restrictions on outdoor keeping of wild boars and pigs

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Publication date 13.12.2016 16.00
Press release

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is preparing intensified measures to combat African swine fever, now spreading at an alarming rate in the neighbouring regions of Finland. The measures include restrictions on outdoor keeping, considerable reduction in the numbers of free-roaming wild boars, and communication at border crossings.

The restrictions prepared at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry aim to protect pig and wild boar farms in eastern Finland against the threat of infections spreading from Russia. The measures that are being considered include ordering all pigs to be taken indoors or, alternatively, double fences for outdoor rearing to prevent any contacts with free-roaming wild boars. The restrictions would apply to some tens of wild boar or pig farms, with the exact number depending on the size of the area to be covered by the restrictions.

– So far no infections have been reported on the Russian side in the immediate vicinity of the Finnish border, but we are monitoring the situation in collaboration with the veterinary administrations of the neighbouring countries. In Estonia, for example, similar restrictions are already in force, says Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland.

Wild boar population to be halved

The most important measure, however, is halving the free-roaming wild boar population to about 500–600 individuals. The reach the target it is already allowed to use light and attractant feed in hunting, a more accurate bullet size has been specified, and there is a shorter closed season for wild boar females. Despite these measures the wild boar population has continued to grow in Finland. Particular caution is needed with regard to winter feeding, which should be used for hunting purposes only, not for preserving or increasing the population. The ministry is planning further easements to the hunting regulations and measures to monitor the population.

Clearly visible risk communication at border crossings

Due to the outbreak a lot of information on the symptoms, ways of spreading and prevention methods of African swine fever has been provided to veterinarians, producers and hunters, as well as customs officials and shipping companies. There is still a significant risk that the disease may be communicated to Finland via purchases or equipment of hunters or even ordinary tourists who have visited the infected area, should these end up at pig farms 

– The threat of African swine fever will not go away within the next few years. Now is the time to also have this information in a clearly visible form at border crossings. To improve the communication, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will be inviting parties involved in cross-border traffic to a joint discussion event. By taking proper action and keeping the matter high on the agenda we can still avoid the disease, says Minister Tiilikainen.

Own-control systems and self-checks of the producers and food industry are in a key position in preventing the disease from spreading. The decisive gatekeeper is the producer, who decides who gains access to the farm and what kind of hygiene measures are required. Feeding food waste such as leftovers of imported sausages to pigs is banned in the whole EU to prevent the spreading of African swine fever and other diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever.

African swine fever is a serious haemorrhagic fever disease in pigs and wild boars that is one of the most serious diseases threatening pig husbandry in Europe. The disease has spread via free-roaming wild boars and human action to our neighbouring regions in Russia and the Baltics. If the disease spreads to Finland, this would be a serious setback to Finnish pork exports. African swine fever is not transmitted to humans.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Katri Levonen, Ministerial Adviser, katri.levonen(at), tel. +358 295 16 2385,
Deputy Director-General Taina Aaltonen, tel. +358 295 16 2439,

More information on African swine fever at Evira’s website:

The press release of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Russian

Animals and plants Farm animals Food and agriculture Hunting Kimmo Tiilikainen Preparedness Wildlife and game