After African swine fever broke out in Vitsebsk region the authorities set a three-year veto on keeping hogs. Aren’t there any double standards and illegal methods in the state’s fighting against the epidemic?
As an experiment, human rights defender Mikalai Petrushenka (Orsha district) bought a hog. According to the local council, all domestic hogs are to be culled, and their owners can sell the meat to state-run organizations. At the same time, the authorities stressed that people could be fined or even sentenced to prison if they failed to obey the ban. Mr Petrushenka informed the local council of his having a hog but they have no legal grounds to penalize him, he says.
‘They just frighten rural citizens that keeping hogs are prohibited. In fact, it is nothing but a megafraud. They’d better tell the truth that they just don’t need competitors,’ Mr Petrushenka adds.
Valiantsina Baturava had to cull 20 hogs: ‘It was pretty difficult because last summer was very hot. But I had no other way out: we stewed the meat and sold it. It was a tragedy for us.’
At the same time thousands of hogs are kept in a pig farm near the village of Zagaradnaya. Having ordered to cull domestic hogs the authorities never laid a finger on state-owned ones. ‘There is a shining example of double standards,’ local residents say.
‘According to the regulations, it is the keeping hogs within a 5-km radius of pig farms that was forbidden. They should have told the truth! But aiming at squeezing competitors the local authorities and superior bodies just keep fooling people,’ Mr Petrushenka stresses.