DOI: 10.3390/ani14010014 ISSN: 2076-2615

African Swine Fever and Its Control Measures in Wild Boar: A “De Iure Condito” Analysis in the European Union

Sergio Migliore, Hany A. Hussein, Paola Galluzzo, Roberto Puleio, Guido Ruggero Loria
  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Recently, the African swine fever (ASF) epizootic has been reported in domestic pigs and wild boars in several European Union Member States (EU MS) and epidemiological evidence has accumulated which indicates that wild boar play a key role in maintaining and spreading the disease. Thanks to the experience gained when managing ASF outbreaks in Sardinia (Italy) and Eastern Europe, Directive 2002/60 CE was issued. This directive represented an important step forward in controlling the disease, particularly the risk of spreading the virus to wild animals. Since 2021, according to Regulation (EU) 2016/429, which is also called “Animal Health Law—AHL”, when the MS competent authority suspects or confirms ASF (a cat. A listed disease) in wild animals, it is mandatory to conduct surveillance in the wild boar population and implement the necessary control measures. Within AHL, Regulations (EU) 2020/687 and 2023/594 established special ASF control measures in kept and wild porcine animals, and their products and by-products, focusing on and underlying old and new responsibilities that vets (both public and private ones) have to accomplish under the new regulations. The new change in the legal framework deals with specific measures to be applied in the wild and represents a great challenge for MS veterinary services. Some of these measures have been well established in the last two decades, particularly those related to application in the farming system, while other measures are still new to veterinary health management and require a holistic approach in terms of intensity, considering all geographical, ecological, productive, cultural and social features of the involved EU MS. In this contribution, the authors intend to focus on specific measures which have been issued in order to limit or stop the spread of ASF in a wild, “boundless” ecosystem. These measures expand the field of competence of the official veterinary service to wild areas in addition to farm activity.

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