Saturday, October 19

Step up biosecurity measures, piggeries told

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Dr Adrian Susin Ambud

KUCHING: Operators of commercial pig farms must step up their biosecurity measures to ensure that the contagious African Swine Fever (AFC) would not spread into Sarawak.

“We have advised our farmers not to feed their pigs with leftovers from restaurants or kitchens as the AFC virus from contaminated pork products can survive the cooking process, and is highly resistant in the environment,” said Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud.

He said this during a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya here yesterday, where he represented Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development.

According to Dr Adrian, Sarawak has over 90 commercial pig farms – an industry that is worth more than RM500 million.

“The introduction of the virus, if left unchecked, would lead to serious economic losses to our farmers, and negative impact on food security,” said Dr Adrian.

He said due to the risks associated with the disease, DVS Sarawak had issued two circulars to importers of meat and meat products regarding the ban of pork and pork products from countries affected by the disease.

“The department continues to conduct checks at airports, seaports and in shops to make sure that pork and pork products brought in illegally are not sold to the public.”

Dr Adrian also warned travellers coming back from abroad not to bring back any pork and pork products, including pork sausages, from countries affected by the disease.

Ever since China notified the World Organisation for Animal Health on Aug 3 last year, regarding a confirmed case of ASF in the country, the governments across the whole Asian region have expressed their concern about the spread of the disease.

So far, the disease has spread to Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Dr Adrian said ASF was detected in the wild pig population in several European countries such as Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Italy.

“Countries like Germany and Spain are fencing their borders to prevent wild boars from coming into contact with the domestic pigs,” he said.

Dr Adrian stressed that there was no treatment or vaccine available to control the AFC, and any infected farm would be quarantined with all its pigs disposed of via on-site farm burial.