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Russia’s Food Safety Watchdog Sees Feed Thefts Spreading ASF

Animal feed thefts in Russia may be to blame for the latest outbreaks of African Swine Fever on industrial farms, Rosselkhoznadzor, the country’s food safety watchdog, said on its website.

In two instances in the Tver and Krasnodar regions, hog feed was stolen from industrial farms and it’s possible that the bags used to carry the feed out came from private yards and helped spread the infection, Alexei Alekseenko, spokesman for Rosselkhoznadzor, said by phone in Moscow today.

ASF, a viral disease for which there is no vaccine, is deadly for pigs and harmless for humans, according to the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization.

Farm owners and veterinary officials should “pay extreme attention” to guards that work on farms, Nikolai Vlasov, deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor, said in an appeal on the watchdog’s website.

About 30 virus outbreaks have been registered across Russia in private yards and industrial farms so far this year, Alekseenko said. On Aug. 8 and July 26, two of billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s farms in Krasnodar region were forced to kill 7,809 hogs due to a recent outbreak, according to statements from Basic Element, a diversified group with stakes in everything from agribusiness to energy.

About 76,000 pigs out of 800,000 in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia are infected with ASF and will be killed, the region’s government said on its website yesterday. Governor Alexander Tkachev declared a state of emergency in the area because of the virus, according to the statement.

About 500,000 pigs died or have been killed in ASF outbreaks in Russia since the virus was discovered in the country in 2007, Alekseenko said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow at msysoyeva@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Deane at jdeane3@bloomberg.net

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