KUCHING, Aug 18: A total of 32,204 pigs have been disposed of as of Aug 16 this year to stamp out and curb the spread of African swine fever (ASF) disease in Sarawak. Minister of Agriculture Modernisation and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom emphasised that the strategy introduced has successfully controlled the outbreak of the disease in Limbang and Kapit divisions, where no new cases have been reported.
“But the disease was detected in Serian and Kuching divisions and both were declared ASF disease control areas on June 14 this year due to poor farm biosecurity at the breeder level. “However, people do not need to worry because this disease only infects pigs and is not zoonotic (able to infect humans). “The pork available in the market is safe for consumption and (the supply is) sufficient,” he said in a statement yesterday. He was responding to Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen who had urged the Sarawak government to be truthful and open to the public on the status of the ASF disease control measures in Sarawak.
“In July this year, the Sarawak government also gave approval to pay compassionate assistance to farmers affected by the disposal,” he added. With various measures implemented and coordinated across various agencies including commercial farm breeders and breeders’ associations, Dr Rundi once again called on all pig farmers in Sarawak to continue to be vigilant and follow the management protocol to improve and tighten the bio-security as well as surrounding cleanliness and hygiene of their respective farms to avoid ASF infection.
“Do not give leftover kitchen food, but if pigs are fed with leftovers, they need to be cooked for at least 30 minutes to kill the ASF virus. “Avoid any contact between wild boars and domestic pigs by improving the physical barriers using fences or cages and do not hunt,” he said of some of the steps that must be taken. Dr Rundi also reminded breeders and farm operators to continue ASF surveillance and testing on farms and slaughterhouses and immediately report to the nearest Veterinary Services Office if there are any incidents of pig deaths. — DayakDaily