Pig farmers urged to step up biosecurity to keep swine fever at bay

GEORGE TOWN: Local pig farmers must step up biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), says Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin (pic).

“Only the farmers can save themselves and as such, they must step up measures," he said, referring to an ASF outbreak declared in Pitas, Sabah, following the discovery of the virus among pigs there.

The outbreak led Sabah Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan to declare that pigs in Pitas and other affected areas would have to be culled.

Sim, who visited a pig farm in Batu Maung on Thursday, noted that “the Veterinary Services Department already has a comprehensive guideline for them (farmers) to follow so we urge them to look into it."

Sim said that since a 2018 AFS outbreak in China, the virus has spread to many countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and now Malaysia.

“The outbreak is huge and spreading fast. We need to take swift action to prevent local farms from being affected.

“The government needs to take action to prevent the spread of this virus.

“Despite the move to stop the import of pork products from affected countries, there is still smuggling going on," he said, citing tinned luncheon meat from affected countries as an example.

Sim urged the authorities to check on pork products sold here that are in violation of the import restriction.

"This needs to be addressed quickly so that we can save the swine industry. It is valued at RM5bil and employs thousands of workers.

“If we can save the industry, we can ensure there is no loss of jobs and business," he said.

He also called upon members of the public to help the local industry and refrain from directly ordering pork products from overseas.

“Many people go online to order these products from various countries and we hope they can help by not doing so," he added.

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