Butchers want Perak pig ban axed

KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities are urged to allow Perak pig farmers to move their animals across state boundaries again, saying that the interstate transport ban has caused pork shortage in several states.

This call came from the Butchers Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

In a move to combat the spread of the African swine fever (ASF), the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) – an arm of the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry – has barred interstate movements of pigs for a month from the end of January.

Association chairman Lee Peng Hock said the Klang Valley alone required around 3,000 pigs each day, and with the current restriction, it was forced to make do with only 500 animals from Selangor.

“An estimated 80% of our pork supply comes from Penang and Perak, and because of ASF, supply from Penang is disrupted.

“Perak’s supply has also been halted because the government is concerned about the spread of ASF,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

He added that this had been an issue since the Chinese New Year.

Lee claimed that since DVS implemented the restriction, the supply of pigs from states other than Penang and Perak had been reduced to the point of affecting various downstream businesses, such as slaughterhouses, merchants and restaurants.

He said states such as Pahang, Johor, Selangor and Melaka were now suffering from severe pork shortages, not including Penang and Perak, which are self-sufficient.

He also claimed that DVS had refused to recognise ASF testing by private laboratories commissioned by farmers to prove that their herd was free of the disease.

Some Perak pig farmers, he said, had resorted to private testing to prove the health of their pigs, but DVS refused to accept the results.

Butchers in Selangor are hoping that DVS will lift the restriction as soon as possible, by allowing unaffected pig farms from elsewhere to move their animals into the state.

Lee added that any further restrictions would greatly impact pork supply to the Klang Valley.

Prices of live pigs at the farm have soared to RM1,520 per 100kg, from RM1,420 per 100kg before Chinese New Year, and some requests for roast pork for temple festivals have been turned down due to the shortage.

According to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, as of Jan 28, 23 out of the total 124 pig farms in Penang were discovered to be infected with ASF.

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