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Poland denies plans to kill almost all of its wild boar Public outcry over Poland's wild boar cull
(35 minutes later)
Poland has denied planning to kill almost all of its wild boar after a public outcry.Poland has denied planning to kill almost all of its wild boar after a public outcry.
It was feared that almost 200,000 boars would be culled this month, to stop the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).It was feared that almost 200,000 boars would be culled this month, to stop the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).
Over 350,000 people signed a petition to stop the mass killing, and hundreds of academics publicly opposed it. Over 350,000 people signed a petition to stop the killing, and hundreds of academics publicly opposed it.
The country's environment minister Henry Kowalczyk told Polish broadcaster TVN that no order was given to eliminate the animals. Poland's hunting union said 168,000 have been killed. But the environment minister told local media no order was given to eliminate the animals.
Mr Kowalczyk said Poland's PZL hunting union was first given the go-ahead to kill 185,000 boar in April last year. According to the group, hunters have killed 168,000 so far. Minister Henry Kowalczyk told Polish broadcaster TVN that Poland's PZL hunting union was first given the go-ahead to kill 185,000 boar in April last year.
Officials were said to have then approved a cull to speed up the process, which was supposed to start tomorrow and continue until the end of January - something Mr Kowalczyk now says will not go ahead.Officials were said to have then approved a cull to speed up the process, which was supposed to start tomorrow and continue until the end of January - something Mr Kowalczyk now says will not go ahead.
The minister also denied that hunters were ordered to shoot pregnant sows, and sows with piglets - something that had drawn particularly strong condemnation from experts and the public.The minister also denied that hunters were ordered to shoot pregnant sows, and sows with piglets - something that had drawn particularly strong condemnation from experts and the public.
What is ASF?What is ASF?
African Swine Fever - or ASF - is a deadly virus found in pigs.African Swine Fever - or ASF - is a deadly virus found in pigs.
It was detected in around 3,200 wild boars and pigs in different locations across Poland between February 2014 and last summer, according to the Polish news agency PAP.It was detected in around 3,200 wild boars and pigs in different locations across Poland between February 2014 and last summer, according to the Polish news agency PAP.
It is not harmful to humans, but is almost always fatal for pigs and boars.It is not harmful to humans, but is almost always fatal for pigs and boars.
"The [hunting] plan was drawn up like every year," Mr Kowalczyk said, adding that the 168,000 boars already killed "isn't much compared to previous years"."The [hunting] plan was drawn up like every year," Mr Kowalczyk said, adding that the 168,000 boars already killed "isn't much compared to previous years".
According to the PZL, 308,000 boars were killed in the year 2017-18, and 282,000 were hunted the year before.According to the PZL, 308,000 boars were killed in the year 2017-18, and 282,000 were hunted the year before.
'I want to live too''I want to live too'
Protest against the proposed cull in Poland has been swift and strong.Protest against the proposed cull in Poland has been swift and strong.
More than 800 Polish academics signed an open letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki demanding an "immediate" halt to the cull, and recommending "alternative actions", such as using disinfectant mats on pork farms.More than 800 Polish academics signed an open letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki demanding an "immediate" halt to the cull, and recommending "alternative actions", such as using disinfectant mats on pork farms.
On Wednesday protesters gathered outside the parliament building in Warsaw, waving placards with pictures of boars that read: "I want to live too."On Wednesday protesters gathered outside the parliament building in Warsaw, waving placards with pictures of boars that read: "I want to live too."
Thousands of people showed their support online by changing their Facebook profile photos to one of a wild boar.Thousands of people showed their support online by changing their Facebook profile photos to one of a wild boar.
One Polish activist has even created a boar "frame" that users can add to their existing profile photos - so that the picture stays the same, but with a small boar in the corner.One Polish activist has even created a boar "frame" that users can add to their existing profile photos - so that the picture stays the same, but with a small boar in the corner.
Hunters spoke out against the cull, too - warning that without wild boar to prey on, predators like wolves would move on to farm animals like sheep and cows.Hunters spoke out against the cull, too - warning that without wild boar to prey on, predators like wolves would move on to farm animals like sheep and cows.