Online posts push euroscepticism with false claims about animal diseases in Serbia

Online posts push euroscepticism with false claims about animal diseases in Serbia

In the summer of 2023, Serbia faced an outbreak of African swine fever among domestic pigs, which forced the authorities to euthanise tens of thousands of animals. In late November, Belgrade announced a wave of avian influenza among wild birds. Despite the facts, a false claim circulated on social media in Bulgarian that these and other animal diseases do not exist in Serbia, which is not a member of the European Union. The posts promote a false narrative suggesting that Brussels has concocted fictitious animal diseases and that they are therefore only found in EU countries.

EU official not head of lab that confirmed bloc’s first-ever goat plague outbreak

EU official not head of lab that confirmed bloc’s first-ever goat plague outbreak

Nearly five years after Bulgaria reported the European Union’s first-ever outbreak of sheep and goat plague — also known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR) — hundreds of social media users shared the false claim that EU official François Gabriel, who is married to Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel, was the executive director of CIRAD when the French organisation was testing samples from the outbreak. However, public records and statements from Gabriel and CIRAD show that this is not true.