Vietnam mulls deploying armed forces against African swine fever catastrophe

The agriculture ministry has said that without proper prevention, the incurable pig disease can cause "extremely catastrophic consequences."

vietnam mulls deploying armed forces against african swine fever catastrophe hinh 0
Vietnam has the world’s seventh biggest pig herd and is the sixth largest pork producer, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Photo by Reuters/File
Vietnam had destroyed more than 1.2 million farmed pigs, or 4 percent of the nation’s total herd, as of last Sunday, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

"If not controlled well, the outbreak will develop thus: reappearing where it has been controlled, spreading to new areas and becoming an epidemic in herds raised by large-scale farms," agriculture minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said at a Monday meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung.

Once that happens, it would lead to "extremely catastrophic consequences," damaging the economy in general and threatening the pig farming sector, a major branch of the nation’s livestock industry, he said.

"In order to ensure that the entire process of quarantining and culling infected pigs is done in line with regulations, army and police should be in charge, because of their discipline," the minister added.

Suspecting that outbreak control has loosened in several areas where it has been detected, the minister suggested that the government deploys armed forces to keep an eye on anti-epidemic measures.

Deputy PM Dung did not respond immediately to the suggestion about deploying armed forces, but wanted local authorities to make reasonable compensation to farmers before killing their pigs as a way to encourage them to join hands with the authorities in tightening quarantining and other measures.

African swine fever has spread further in southern Vietnam, with Hau Giang in the Mekong Delta announcing infections on May 13, putting the total number of affected cities and provinces in the country at 30.

The viral disease, which infects all pig species through bodily fluids such as blood and mucus and causes hemorrhagic fever, was first detected in Vietnam in February. It has since spread to all three major regions in the country – the north, the central and the south.

It went south in early May, hitting two farms in Dong Nai Province, home to the nation’s largest pig herd and a major source of pork supply to the neighbor Ho Chi Minh City.

Just over the weekend, the outbreak was detected in Binh Phuoc Province, which neighbors Dong Nai.

Vietnam has the world’s seventh biggest pig herd and is the sixth largest pork producer, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Some 70 percent of meat products in Vietnam are from pigs, with over 10,000 farms and 2.5 million households raising the animal for food.

There is no cure for African swine fever though humans are not affected by it.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in March advised Vietnam to declare the swine fever outbreak a national emergency.

Twenty countries and territories have reported outbreaks since 2017 and over one million pigs have been put down, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. Vietnam is the third country in Asia to be hit after China and Mongolia.


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