Farmers riled as Vietnam commune bans slaughter, sale of pigs

By Le Hoang   May 26, 2019 | 07:02 am PT
Farmers riled as Vietnam commune bans slaughter, sale of pigs
Pork stalls in a local market of Dan Ly Commune, Thanh Hoa Province are empty. Photo by VnExpress/Le Hoang
Farmers in a central Vietnam commune are unhappy with local authorities’ uncalled for response to African swine fever.

Authorities in Dan Ly Commune, Thanh Hoa Province have banned the slaughter and sale of pigs in an effort to keep the dreaded African swine fever at bay.

The Dan Ly people’s committee announced the decision May 16, saying the ban would hold good until the epidemic is gone.

Many farmers are upset at not being able to sell the pigs.

"We’ve heard on local media about African swine fever appearing in many places, but people are still allowed to butcher and sell [their products] normally. Why do they ban it here?" asked Thanh, a commune resident.

The commune was only following orders from the Trieu Son District authorities, said Bui Van Tinh, vice chairman of the Dan Ly Commune people’s committee.

But La Van Lam, head of the Trieu Son department of agriculture and rural development, said the commune had misinterpreted the district’s orders.

"The district only banned butchering and selling pork against proper regulations. But the communal authorities missed the ‘against proper regulations’ part," said Lam.

Echoing Lam, Le Duc Giang, head of Thanh Hoa Province's department of agriculture and rural development, said Saturday that the commune had misinterpreted the order.

The Thanh Hoa provincial administration has clarified the order to commune authorities, said Giang.

The Thanh Hoa department of agriculture and rural development said Monday the selling of pork in areas affected by African swine fever is not banned if the pork is certified as not infected with the disease by relevant veterinary entities.

The same goes for butchering, which is allowed as long as the slaughterhouses are certified as meeting veterinary and food safety standards.

After it hit Vietnam in February, African swine fever has quickly spread across the northern and central regions. At least 35 provinces have been infected by the disease.

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

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.

Twenty countries and territories have reported outbreaks since 2017 and over 2.5 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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