Deputy head of the German Farmers’ Association, Werner Schwarz, told the Rheinische Post that the close season on hunting wild boar needed to be lifted in order to ensure that huge numbers of wild boar could be killed.
Schwarz said that drastic measures were needed to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) from spreading into the German pig population. ASF infections have been reported in pigs in several eastern and central European countries including the Czech Republic.
In order to counter a possible outbreak, 70 percent of wild boar would need to be culled, including mothers and young boar, Schwarz said.
He was unable to say how many animals would be killed in such a wide-scale cull, but pointed to the fact that in Berlin alone the wild boar population is estimated at somewhere between 3,000 and 8,000.
Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) said he was in favour of the plan.
“In order to achieve aims on the reduction of wild boar numbers we need to lift the close season on hunting,” he told the RP.
Schwarz warned that even one confirmed case of ASF among the German pig population would lead to an export ban.
“The price for pork could drop by 30 percent if that were the case. That would lead to losses of billions of euros in the meat industry,” he said.
But the German Environment and Nature Protection Association rejected a cull, claiming it would be ineffective.
James Brückner, a spokesman for the association, said that the boars thrive in Germany’s 2.5 million hectares of corn fields, where they find plentiful food and hiding spots.
The only effective way to control the population is to diversify agricultural production, he argued, adding that “lifting the close season on hunting is not acceptable.”
Schwarz though, said that it was more humane to kill the boar than to let them die through disease.