Govt sees no need for cull despite 3 new swine fever cases

September 04, 2019 17:35
The Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse will continue to operate normally despite three new African Swine Fever cases among the animals brought into the facility, authorities said. Photo: Bloomberg

Authorities don't see the need for any fresh mass culling of pigs at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse (SSSH) despite some new African Swine Fever (ASF) cases, the government said on Tuesday, adding that the facility will continue to operate normally.

“Since the period of stay for pigs in the slaughterhouse is short and [given the] comprehensive daily cleansing and disinfection, together with the enhancement of cleaning and disinfection of vehicles transporting pigs, the risk of ASF spreading in Hong Kong has been largely minimised,” it said in a press release.

Closure of the slaughterhouse and mass culling of pigs are considered not necessary, the government said.

The announcement came after the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) confirmed earlier Tuesday that ASF virus was found in samples of three pigs from the slaughterhouse.

According to the government release issued Tuesday night, a batch of pigs from the mainland was admitted to the slaughterhouse on September 2 after they passed the inspection by veterinary surgeons.

However, three of them were found dead prior to slaughtering, and test results confirmed that they had been infected by ASF virus.

It is believed that the batch was from a registered pig farm in Hunan province in central China.

According to a government spokesman, soon after the first ASF case occurred in Hong Kong, authorities "started imposing a daily clearance arrangement which means all live pigs will be slaughtered within 24 hours upon admittance into the SSSH”.

Also, holding pens in all different areas of the slaughterhouse were being cleared out and undergoing "thorough cleansing and disinfection every day.”

The government release noted that other pigs can be slaughtered as usual and supplied to market for consumption.

The highly contagious ASF, deadly only for pigs, has hit many provinces in China since an outbreak began in August last year.

Hong Kong saw its first such case in May this year, prompting the government to cull several thousand pigs at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse at that time.

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