Animal health: Fight against African Swine Fever pays off in Sardinia, reopening pork trade and relaxing measures for parts of the island

Today, and for the first time in decades, trade in pigs and pig products from Sardinia will be authorised in some areas without health restrictions, under the control of the competent authorities. These new measures also subject other areas to lighter restrictions than the previous ones, with a localised area still remaining subject to stricter conditions on movements from the island of pigs and pig products. These changes reflect the current epidemiological situation of the disease in Sardinia and stem from a Commission proposal, which today received the Member States’ full support, to review the island’s zoning measures.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: “Today’s vote is excellent news for Sardinia, but also for the entire EU. The fight against African Swine Fever has been a Commission priority for many years. The measures adopted today reward the efforts of the Italian national and regional authorities and demonstrate that the EU’s approach has proven effective in curbing the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, the fight against ASF in the European Union is far from over, with the disease still being reported in 11 Member States, including continental Italy. The Commission remains committed to lead the EU’s response to the fight against this disease with the ultimate goal of its eradication”.

The disease has been endemic on the island since 1978. Eradication programmes are in place for 40 years, and an “extraordinary plan” was launched in 2015. During the last seven years, disease control and eradication measures have mainly targeted the animals responsible for the persistence of the virus on the island: domestic pigs, wild boar, and illegal free-ranging pigs (a specific challenge in Sardinia). Measures have also been taken to address several Commission audit recommendations. As a result, the number of ASF outbreaks in Sardinia has drastically declined, as confirmed by the last Commission audit of 2021 and new data from the Italian authorities.

These measures will be published in the Official Journal and will enter into force in the coming days. For more details on African Swine Fever, please consult this page.

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