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HK to cull 3,000 pigs after African swine fever found

In this April 30, 2018 file photo, piglets are held in pens at a modern pig farm in Beijing’s Fangshan district. (PHOTO / IC)

HONG KONG – All 3,000 pigs at a licensed pig farm in Yuen Long will be culled after samples tested positive for the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

In a statement issued on Tuesday night, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced the culling of all pigs at a farm in Wong Nai Tun, Yuen Long after tests confirmed that pigs in two of its sheds had the virus.

“Six pig samples taken from an isolated shed tested positive for ASF on February 4 and two more samples from another shed tested positive too on February 6. It shows that the virus is spreading on the farm,” an AFCD spokesman was quoted as saying in the statement.

An Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department spokesman said the pigs will be culled “in an orderly manner as the ground situation allows and as soon as possible”

“The AFCD, after consulting international experts in the area, considered it prudent to cull all the pigs on the farm,” he added.

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The spokesman said the transporting of pigs out of the farm was suspended and they will be culled “in an orderly manner as the ground situation allows and as soon as possible.”

“So far, samples taken from the other three pig farms within three kilometers of the farm were all negative. As no abnormalities have been found during inspection of these farms, pigs on the three pig farms are allowed to be transported to slaughterhouses,” the spokesman said.

He added that the AFCD will send in staff to inspect the pigs before they are transported out of the farms to ensure that only pigs in good health condition are allowed to be sent to slaughterhouses.

He also said that vehicles used by the three farms to transport pigs will not be used by other farms and would undergo thorough cleansing and disinfection before they leave the slaughterhouses.

ALSO READ: HK to cull 4,700 pigs as 2nd African swine fever case reported

The AFCD would continue to investigate and track down the source of the virus in the area with the help of the international experts, according to the statement.

The department would also step up inspections of local pig farms and conduct tests if necessary to keep all local farms under close surveillance. The AFCD also notified all farmers to immediately alert the department if they observe abnormal health conditions in their pigs, it added.

The spokesman also said that ASF is not a zoonotic disease and will not infect humans. 

The incident involved only one pig farm and did not affect the operation of slaughterhouses or the overall supply of live pigs, according to the statement.

READ MORE: Official: African swine fever outbreaks under control

Reference