Pig farmers fret over ASF with some planning to quit industry

PETALING JAYA: Pig farmers and butchers say that they are worried that the African swine fever (ASF) has reached “pandemic proportions”, with some already thinking of quitting the industry.

As certain states with big farms such as Perak do not have well-equipped slaughterhouses, live pigs are usually sent to Selangor to be slaughtered to enable fresh pork to reach customers in the shortest time.

As at Jan 31, the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) has placed an interstate ban on transport of live pigs from Perak and Penang to Selangor.

This has caused a surplus of live pigs in these two states, and lack of pork in other states where the demand is high, especially Selangor.

Perak Animal Husbandry Association president David Lee Chli Yuan said that as most pork retailers and consumers are from Selangor, some Perak farms tried butchering their pigs at the only slaughterhouse in Ipoh before transporting the processed parts to Selangor.

There is no ban on the movement of processed pork parts.

“However, due to the slaughterhouse not having a cold storage and most farmers also not having any refrigerated trucks, the meat turned bad quickly and, as a result, could not be transported to Selangor,” he said.

He added that Perak farms are currently forced to send most of their excess overgrown pigs to slaughterhouses in Kuantan.

A veteran pig farmer from Melaka, known as Chua, said he culled 2,000 pigs following the outbreak of ASF in the state early last year.

He is now not sure whether to continue rearing pigs as it is too costly and risky, although subsidies received from DVS covered the losses to some extent.

“I’ve already been selling at a loss during the movement control order from 2020 to 2021. ASF then hit my farm and caused the loss of my entire business.

“I lost over a million ringgit and while we were promised subsidies from the DVS, nothing was announced or given to us for almost a year.

“I am now not sure if I will continue operating pig farms anymore as not only are the costs high but the risks of a random disease popping out and killing my animals are too high,” he said.

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