NIBONG TEBAL: The pork supply for this coming Chinese New Year celebrations will not be affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak which has hit seven commercial pig farms involving some 25,000 pigs here.
Penang Pig Farmers Association chairman Wong Fu Sheng said most pork sellers had bought pigs a month ago.
“There is no cause for panic as the supply of pigs is sufficient for the festive season.
“We are still selling at RM13.80 per kg so there will be no price hike as of now.
“We are closely monitoring the ASF situation in the state. Hopefully, it will be contained and not spread,” he said when contacted.
On Friday, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had declared the ASF outbreak a “disaster” after cases were reported in seven commercial pig farms – five in south Seberang Prai and two in central Seberang Prai districts.
He said some 25,000 pigs from affected farms would be culled in stages to prevent the spread of ASF, with the exercise expected to take weeks.
So far, a total of 929 pigs from the farm that first reported ASF cases had been culled and their carcasses buried onsite.
Chow said a 5km radius from the affected farms would be closely monitored by the state Veterinary Services Department to prevent any spread of the disease.
“I urge all pig farm operators to report the deaths of any of their pigs so that tests can be carried out to prevent the situation going from bad to worse,” he said during a visit to Perkampungan Valdor on Friday.
Chow said the ASF outbreak was confirmed through polymerase chain reaction tests conducted from Jan 4-12 on pig samples from affected farms.
To control and prevent the spread of ASF, he said the department had implemented a policy to cull pigs in farms with ASF cases.
“The culling is done with CO2 gas and in accordance with the Animal Welfare Code of Practice and Animal Disposal Management guidelines, before the pigs are buried.
“Roadblocks have been mounted leading to Perkampungan Valdor since Jan 10.
“This is to control the movement of live pigs and pig carcasses from infected areas,” he added.
Last year, there were ASF outbreaks at 124 pig farms in Penang – 64 in north Seberang Prai, 52 in south Seberang Prai, four in central Seberang Prai and four on the island, involving a total of 267,348 pigs.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, ASF has become a major crisis for the pork industry in recent years and is affecting several regions around the world.
ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, and the mortality rate can reach 100%.
The disease is not a danger to humans but can have a devastating impact on pig populations and the farming industry.
There is currently no effective vaccine against ASF.