Pigs in affected areas to be culled following African Swine Fever outbreak in Sabah, says Jeffrey Kitingan

KOTA KINABALU: Pigs in Pitas and other affected areas will be culled following an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the district recently.

State Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) said the Sabah Veterinary Services Department (DVS) has declared an outbreak of ASF in Pitas following the discovery of the virus among pigs there.

He said actions under the Animal Enactment including the culling of pigs in the affected areas, controlling the movement of pigs and the selling of pork products are among steps that will be taken to curb the spread of the disease.

The details of these matters and actions will be revealed and informed to the public.

“The affected villages and premises will be disinfected and the government, through the DVS, will kick off an awareness campaign to increase the people’s understanding about the disease as well, ” Jeffrey said.

He said the culling of all affected pigs will be done as soon as possible because ASF is a highly infectious disease with no cure or ready vaccine to prevent the disease.

The government will consider compensating the farmers whose pigs have been culled by DVS, based on rates that will be determined later, he added.

This control measure will be coordinated through the district disaster management committee and is expected to be completed within six months.

“Our main goal is to stop this disease from spreading to commercial pig farms based in Tuaran, Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Sandakan and Tawau, ” Jeffrey said.

Currently, ASF does not affect the production of pork for domestic consumption, which is estimated to be worth RM300mil a year.

“We took note of the Sarawak government’s decision to ban pork and pork products from Sabah, ” he said.

“However, we are confident the ban will not have a significant effect on the pork industry in Sabah because we have no record of such exports, ” Jeffrey said.

He reiterated that ASF, which is a specific disease for pigs, is harmless to humans.

Meanwhile, he said the DVS is currently conducting a statewide Livestock Census.

The programme aims to collect complete data on the livestock industry and veterinary services to help draft policies, control diseases, and other programmes.

The census will also include domestic animals including cats and dogs.

“The department is asking for cooperation from the public as they will be visiting their premises to conduct interviews. The programme is expected to end by April this year, ” Jeffrey said.

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