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20 Apr 11

Bulgaria Plans Border Fence Against Foot and Mouth

Bulgaria says it will restore a Cold War era fence along its Turkish border to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease from animals from Turkey.

Novinite (Sofia Press Agency)

An existing fence, which covers 28.5 kilometres, will be repaired, and a new structure will be built to cover the rest of the 209.5 kilometre-long border, the Bulgarian Council of Ministers has decided.

The governors of the three regions through which the territory of the fence will pass will issue orders for its construction, and it will be financed by the country's Finance Ministry and facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The new fence must be completed by October 2011, as Foot and Mouth Disease, FMD, spreads faster when temperatures are low.

In December last year, Bulgaria detected its first outbreak of FMD in 12 years near the southeastern village of Kosti. Since then, six villages in southeast Bulgaria have registered FMD outbreaks and hundreds of farm animals have been killed to prevent the further spread of the disease.

At the end of March, the Agency announced that as many as 700 animals might have to be euthanized to prevent the spread of FMD in Strandzha, triggering mass protests by farmers and blockades.

In the Cold War period the Bulgarian-Turkish border was a border between the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact and NATO, and as such was one of the most-heavily fortified borders in Europe. Since the early 1990s, Bulgaria has torn down its border fortifications.

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