23 officials disciplined as thousands of pigs injected with sedative in Saigon

By Tuyet Nguyen   October 20, 2017 | 06:00 pm PT
23 officials disciplined as thousands of pigs injected with sedative in Saigon
Pigs at Xuyen A slaughterhouse in Cu Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Son Hoa
Traders said they need the sedative to create good-looking pork, which would sell for a higher price on the market.

Ho Chi Minh City has handed out punishments ranging from official warnings to demotions to 23 agriculture officials after inspectors caught traders injecting a sedative into nearly 4,000 pigs at the city’s biggest slaughterhouse last month.

Head and deputy head of the city’s Veterinary Breeding Faculty are on the list, which includes 16 officials who were at the site when slaughterers drugged the pigs in the outlying district of Cu Chi.

All of the 23 officials will be suspended for three months.

The faculty has been requested to improve itself and tighten its management on other slaughterhouses around the city, with surveillance cameras taken into consideration, Nguyen Phuoc Trung, director of the city’s agriculture department, told VnExpress.

Late last month, inspectors from the agriculture ministry caught workers injecting drugs into living pigs at Xuyen A slaughterhouse in Cu Chi.

After conducting urine tests on the pigs, they found nearly 4,000 of them had been injected with a sedative. They were brought to the slaughterhouse by 13 traders.

According to inspectors, traders gave the sedative to slaughterers, who then injected it into the pigs.

Each trader was fined VND30-35 million ($1,300-1,500) while the slaughterhouse was shut down for 21 days for decontamination.

All sedative-injected pigs have been destroyed.

Traders explained that they had to pay the slaughterhouse VND50,000 for every pig they want to slaughter, a fee they claimed to be too high.

To make up for that input cost, they chose to drug pigs to make the pork look fresh so that they could sell it at a higher price.

Previously, traders did not have to bring their pigs to large-scale slaughterhouses like Xuyen A and could have the job done at nearby slaughterhouses or even in their backyard.

Ho Chi Minh City plans to shut down all small, unregistered slaughterhouses by the end of this year and have all pigs slaughtered in large-scale and registered slaughterhouses to ensure food safety.

Xuyen A is currently the biggest facility in the city. It processes 5,000 pigs per night and makes up half of the amount of pork distributed around the city.

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