Russia is considering a program to fight African swine fever that could cost up to 12 billion rubles (US$426 million) over seven years, said Nikolai Vlasov, deputy chief of food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor.

The program would include laboratories and incentives to encourage farmers to switch from pig breeding to other livestock. The money would come from federal spending, according to Rosselkhoznadzor spokesman Alexei Alekseenko.

The virus is mostly in Russia’s Southern and North-Caucasus federal districts. About 17,000 pigs have died or been slaughtered due to the disease so far in 2011, and 60,000 died in 2010.