With no signs of receding, Penang CM pleads with state pig farmers for cooperation to curb ASF

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SEBERANG PERAI, Jan 28 — Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today implored pig farmers in the state to work with the authorities to curb the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

The virus that is fatal to both domestic and feral swine has infected 23 commercial pig farms in Penang to date, affecting 53,275 pigs, and shows no signs of slowing down.

“As long as there is no full cooperation, the risks in the spread of this virus will not be contained,” he said in a press conference after visiting the Valdor ASF operation centre here.

The state Veterinary Services Department (DVS) said 17 of the 23 affected pig farms are in South Seberang Perai (SPS) involving 42,691 pigs, two in Central Seberang Perai (SPT) involving 2,742 pigs and four in North Seberang Perai (SPU) involving 7,842 pigs.

Six farms have culled their pig stock to date.

The DVS said it will continue culling operations on the remaining affected farms.

“We ask that the farmers remain careful to stop the spread of the virus especially in transportation of the pigs,” Chow said.

He asked farmers not to share their lorries to transport the swine, and reminded them to disinfect the vehicles after each trip.

Chow told reporters that the state met the pig farmers’ association last week and have agreed to share the results of tests done on the pigs.

He added that no fixed date has been given when asked when the affected farms will be allowed to reopen.

“Before the farms are allowed to resume operations, they must ensure they comply with the Pig Farming Enactment 2016 which is now in force and we also have to ensure that the virus is no longer present in these farms,” he said.

He said the DVS will assist the farms with this.

Chow reiterated that pork from unaffected farms in Penang are safe for consumption and that these unaffected farms are allowed to send their pigs to the abattoir to ensure continuous supply of pork in the state.

He advised the public to remain calm as the ASF will only infect pigs and wild boars but the spread of the disease brings with it economic losses as it leads to death of the pigs within two to 10 days of infection.

On the issue of compensation for the affected farms, he said the DVS will submit their applications for compensation to Putrajaya for consideration.

He reminded the farmers to immediately report to the DVS if they suspected any deaths related to ASF among their pigs.

Based on a census conducted in 2022, there are a total 124 pig farms in all four districts in Penang with a total pig population of 267,348.

As of today, there are a total 101 pig farms with a population of about 214,073 pigs unaffected by the ASF.

Of the 101 farms, 35 are in SPS with a total 97,104 pigs, 60 farms in SPU with 100,600 pigs, two in SPT with 5,539 pigs and four in the southwest district on the island with 10,830 pigs.