Tuesday , May 18 2021

Beijing questions a strange public warning about the swine fever crisis

The Chinese authorities announced new stringent measures in an attempt to stop the country's rapidly growing African swine fever, which has spread to 18 provinces and has led to the sacrifice of more than 200,000 pigs.

Days after recognizing the situation was "serious," the Ministry of Agriculture of China reported on Friday the first outbreak of the disease in the southwestern province of Sichuan in a farm of 40 pigs.

The news is especially important for officials, since Sichuan is the pig producing region in China: a country that produces half of the pigs in the world with a current population of about 500 million pigs.

Although the disease does not pose a direct danger to human health, its arrival and extension in China has increasingly threatened the pig industry, with a greater potential impact on supplies and prices in the coming months.

In a small document issued jointly by the Ministries of Agriculture, Transport and Public Safety, the government accused the non-hygienic vehicles of transporting pigs and "elements without law" motivated by benefits, moving animals of high risk areas for the rapid spread of the disease from the first case arose in august

The board requested more national inspections of all livestock transport vehicles and more severe punishments for illegal transportation and killing of pigs.

The document comes after the United Nations recently warned that the disease is "here to stay" in China and could quickly become an epidemic, with the most virulent strain of swine fever causing a 100% mortality rate for infected pigs.

"What we are seeing so far is just the tip of the iceberg," said John Lubroth, the veterinary director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in September.

"The cross-border evolution of the virus, probably through movements of products that contain infected pork, will almost always happen," he added. "Therefore, it is no longer" if "" this will happen, but when and with what we can collaborate to avoid and minimize the damage. "

African swine fever, which has no vaccine or healing, was first detected in Asia last year, in an area of ​​Siberia, according to the UN.

In October, the Chinese authorities banned the feeding of kitchen waste or pigs after the connection of practice widely used in most early cases of the disease. They also announced plans to establish a registration system for vehicles that carry livestock.

Despite the UN recognition of China's efforts to contain the disease, some experts remain skeptical about Beijing's ability to control it, pointing to the challenges of enforcing biosecurity in the large number of pig farms in the country.

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