December 13, 2016 / 3:40 PM / 8 months ago

Finland to ease rules on hunting wild boar to fight a swine fever

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland is planning to loosen rules on hunting wild boar and impose restrictions on keeping domestic pigs outdoors to combat African swine fever, which has been found in neighboring Russia, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said it hoped to halve the country's free-roaming wild boar population to about 500 to 600 animals by easing regulations on hunting the animals. It did not say how the rules would change, but it has previously extended the hunting season.

The southern region of Krasnodar, an area of Russia near the Black Sea, has imposed restrictions on the movement of live pigs. Authorities there found 10 outbreaks of the fever, a highly contagious disease in pigs.

Finland is also preparing to restrict how pigs are raised on farms. The authorities may require that in eastern Finland they be kept indoors or within double fences, to prevent contact with wild boar.

"If the disease spreads to Finland, this would be a serious setback to Finnish pork exports," the ministry said.

African swine fever is not transmitted to humans. 

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl

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