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Swine Fever Toll Mounting in Tver Region

Zavolzhskoye Breeding Plant in the Tver region, part of the Ru-Com group, will have to destroy at least 33,000 pigs due to an outbreak of African swine fever, the federal agricultural watchdog said.

"The situation at the complex is very sad. At one of the areas where the virus was detected, 33,000 pigs will have to be destroyed," said Nikolai Vlasov, the deputy head of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service, who is currently in the Tver region, Interfax reported Thursday.

The production site itself will have to be destroyed also because "it is very old and cannot be disinfected," he said.

A second site holds 90,000 pigs, Vlasov said.

"Measures are being taken to prevent them from getting sick, but this might not be possible," he added.

Local authorities are not effectively participating, and many are panicking because it is the first time they have come across such a phenomenon, Vlasov said.

Commenting on the regional government's announcement that the breeding plant will have round-the-clock police and veterinary blockade, Vlasov said, "I saw one policeman standing guard."

Vlasov confirmed that entry and exit at the plant are prohibited, including for vehicles.

The inspection service reported that its boss, Sergei Dankvert, would visit Zavolzhskoye on Thursday.

Dankvert will meet with regional authorities and veterinary specialists and hold an extended meeting on measures to stop the spread of swine flu in Russia.

The meeting will be attended by deputy governors and the heads of veterinary services from various regions in the Central and Northwest federal districts.

Swine flu was detected in a wild boar in the Tver region a year ago. Since then, cases of infected animals in private farms have been registered regularly, although a quarantine was not imposed until July 19.

Swine flu is a serious danger to pig farming because there are no vaccines against it. All pigs in the area affected by the disease are usually destroyed.

Zavolzhskoye Breeding Plant is part of the KoPitania agriculture holding, which is managed by Mikhail Abyzov's Ru-Com group.

The SPARK-Interfax database shows that the plant posted revenue of 1.6 billion rubles ($49.5 million) in 2011, compared with 416.5 million rubles in 2010. Net profit was 228.5 million rubles, compared with 167.3 million rubles for the previous year.

Abyzov, who became a presidential aide in January and in May was appointed minister for open government relations, said earlier that as a result of his appointments, he would transfer all assets into trust management and quit all his managerial posts in business.

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