RIGA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Around 6,000 pigs will have to be culled at an eastern Latvian farm that has been hit by African swine fever (ASF) this week, the Latvian veterinary authority informed on Saturday.
The Latgales Bekons farm in Viski municipality in Daugavpils district is the third large pig farm stricken by the deadly porcine infection in Latvia this year.
The Food and Veterinary Service has dispatched its staff to Latgales Bekons to take preventive measures, cull the pigs and conduct an epidemiological inquiry to find out how the infection could get into the farm.
Since the affected farm is registered with the Agricultural Data Center its owner can claim compensation for the killed animals, said the Food and Veterinary Service's spokeswoman Ilze Meistere.
As part of the routine preventive measures, quarantine has been declared ten kilometers around the affected farm. In this territory, veterinary inspectors will be monitoring biosafety measures, the health pigs and the movement of transport vehicles carrying animals or meat products.
Latgales Bekons, currently the largest swine breeding farm in Latgale, has been involved in this business for more than 40 years.
Dzintra Lejniece, the head of the Latvian Association of Pig Producers, said that the company commanded a substantial market share in the region of Latgale and had not only been growing pigs but also processing and selling pork.
Lejniece described the outbreak of African swine fever at Latgles Bekons as a disaster, admitting that for the time being it was not clear how the deadly virus could spread to the farm known for high biosafety standards.
At the beginning of this year, the Latvian pig farming industry suffered serious damage as African swine fever was found on two other large pig farms, which also had to cull thousands of animals to stem the outbreak.
The virus causes no threat to people but is lethal in pigs and boars.