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France to cull thousands of wild boar in north over swine fever fears

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France to cull thousands of wild boar in north over swine fever fears
Photo: AFP
08:51 CET+01:00
France will start culling thousands of wild boar near the Belgian border to prevent the African swine fever virus from spreading, the agriculture ministry said Monday.
It said the operation would be held in the coming weeks and involve large number of hunters and forest officials.
The virus was first reported in Belgium on September 13 near the borders with Luxembourg and France.
"The spread of the illness into France would be a catastrophe for pig farmers and hunters," Thierry Coste, who works for the national hunting federation (FNC), told AFP.
The virus was first spotted in Poland in 2014 when infected wild boar entered from neighbouring Belarus.
Last week, Polish authorities denied any plans to wipe out nearly all wild boar as petitions against a mass cull drew hundreds of thousands of signatures.
"No order was given to eliminate wild boar," Environment Minister Henryk Kowalczyk told the commercial broadcaster TVN, adding that hunting quotas for boar were set as has been done every year.
African swine fever is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boar that almost always ends in death within days. 
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