Saturday 4 February 2023 | 18:51

Aliaksei Tsiul’kou: Hiding information about the African swine only stimulates epidemics

15.08.2013  |  Society   |  Piotr Kuchta, EuroBelarus,  
Aliaksei Tsiul’kou: Hiding information about the African swine only stimulates epidemics

The civil society activist and veterinary surgeon believes that it is the current state of Belarusan veterinary service that caused uncontrollable spread of ASF all over the country.

Aliaksei Tsiul’kou, working deputy of Asipovichy local council, in the talk with the EuroBelarus Information Service noted that the nervous reaction of state officials shows “how serious is the situation with the African swine fever (ASF) in the country”.

-        The situation in the agriculture is really bad, as the economic productivity of Belarusan pig-farming is rather low in comparison to the world leaders in this area. Moreover, our production is quite expensive and uncompetitive. And everything that leads to price growth all the more narrows our foreign economic activity. The closure of foreign markets because of the ASF is a catastrophe. Our country has more than 100 pig farms, which means that our domestic market can’t consume that much of its production. That is why the authorities did everything possible in order not to stop the spread of the disease , but so that the information about it remained undiscovered.

-        As far as I know, experts gave their negative forecasts about the ASF 3 years ago. Why there hasn’t been any reaction of the veterinary service then?

-        It is the most critical moment, as the work of our veterinary service differs from that in the developed countries. Elsewhere in civilized world veterinary service is an independent system, which performs supervisory functions and is not subject to anyone. Basically, it is an independent body; whereas our veterinary service is subject to the Ministry of Agriculture. Besides, veterinary surgeons, who work there, get their salary from this ministry, which means they have no possibility of influencing the negative situation. Veterinary service has to be independent; and this systemic mistake has, probably, led to the situation we see today. Moreover, I cannot but say about the shortage of personnel in rural area, as no one wants to work in rather tough conditions for the salary of about 150 euro.

-        How can you comment on the actions of the authorities after the information about the outbreak of ASF in Hrodna and Vitsiebsk region got publicity?

-        According to the world practice, the quarantine is imposed within a radius of up to 20 kilometers. Within this zone the whole pig population has to be exterminated. Though ASF represents no danger for people, it has to be stopped by exterminating the whole herd, while Belarusan know-how - buffer zones five kilometers long round all the pig farms – is the consequence of insanitation, accumulated over the last years.

-        Give your access of today’s situation with the ASF in Belarus.

-        Let me first note that these are only my assumptions built according to various indirect signs, as the authorities give no accurate information. Perhaps, some new sources of infection are being detected. However, there are no announcements about it to prevent the imposition of export ban on the production. Because it is clear that in case the whole Belarusan territory falls under such ban, it will be no exaggeration to say this is a catastrophe. The sources of infections are liquidated without prior arrangement; clean-up is carried out, though nobody talks about it. It is also possible that more pervasive clean-up is going on as preventive measures.

There are two approaches to liquidate ASF: to register all the pig population and to trace its travel across the country or to kill all the pig population in the area contaminated with ASF. Whereas our country decided to choose the third and, perhaps, the most dangerous approach, when the private pig population is killed and that at the pig farms is retained, though it doesn’t matter for the ASF causative agent whether the pig belongs to private owner or to the state. Perhaps the Ministry of Agriculture believes that it is easier to control a hundred pig farms than dozens of small private farms.

I want to emphasize that the biggest mistake the state has made is the information hiding: people become suspicious to the authorities, which will result in non-observance of the requirements. Whereas open information and coordinated action is more successful tactics. Lack of agreement will only stimulate epidemics.  

Other news section «Society»

What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
The Belarus Committee of ICOMOS announces the collection of cases on the effectiveness of the State List of Historical and Cultural Values as a tool of the safeguarding the cultural monuments.
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
On March 27-28, the Belarus ICOMOS and the EuroBelarus held an online expert workshop on expanding opportunities for community participation in the governance of historical and cultural heritage.
“It is our big joint work”
“It is our big joint work”
It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The Forum was devoted not so much to the outputs as to the challenges and prospects after the creation and signing of local agendas.
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
In Stoubcy, they talked about universal design and conducted pilot monitoring of two urban sites accessibility.
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
"Specificity is different, but the priority is general." In Valożyn, a local strategy for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
The campaign "Agenda 50" was summed up in Ščučyn, and a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed there.
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
The regional center has become the second city in Belarus where the local plan for the implementation of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
Representatives of the campaign “Agenda 50” from five pilot cities discussed achievements in creating local agendas for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
It is noteworthy that out of the five pilot cities, Stoubcy was the last to join the campaign “Agenda 50”, but the first one to complete the preparation of the local agenda.
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
On May 28, the city hosted a presentation of the results of the project "Equal to Equal" which was dedicated to monitoring the barrier-free environment in the city.
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
In Babruysk, wheelchair users are fighting discrimination.
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
Experts in Valožyn have determined that the quality of people’s life depends on their awareness.
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
On March 3, members of the campaign "Agenda 50" from different Belarusian cities met in Minsk. The campaign is aimed at the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
There are being implemented three projects under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities campaign in the city of Babruysk.
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
In Stolin, social organizations and local authorities are implementing a project aimed at independent living of persons with disabilities, and creating local agenda for the district.
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Will creation of local agendas be an effective tool in ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Belarus, just as it was in Poland?
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

“It is our big joint work”

It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.

Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf

Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.

Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool

To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.