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Pig cull to curb virus spread

The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department today announced the culling of all pigs on a licensed pig farm in Wong Nai Tun, Yuen Long in which African swine fever (ASF) cases were found.   The department said six pig samples taken from an isolated shed at the pig farm tested positive for the virus on February 4 and two more samples from another shed also tested positive on February 6, showing that the virus is spreading on the farm.   After consulting international experts in the area, the department considered it prudent to cull all the pigs on the farm. It has liaised with the stakeholders and informed them of the decision.   Transporting pigs out of the farm has been suspended since the ASF virus was detected there. According to the contingency plan on ASF, the department will cull the remaining 3,000 or so pigs on the farm in an orderly manner as the ground situation allows and as soon as possible.   The pig owner will be compensated according to the established mechanism.   As disposal operations take time, the department will release updated operation information every day on its website.   Samples taken from the other three pig farms within 3km of the farm concerned all tested negative.   As no abnormalities have been found during inspection of those three farms, their pigs are allowed to be transported to slaughterhouses.   For the sake of prudence, the department will send staff to inspect the pigs before they are transported out of those farms to ensure that only pigs in good health are allowed to be sent to slaughterhouses.   Additionally, the pig transportation vehicles of the three pig farms are not allowed to transport pigs from other farms at the same time and have to undergo thorough cleansing and disinfection before they leave the slaughterhouses.   The department will investigate and trace the source of the ASF virus with international experts in the area, step up inspection of local pig farms and conduct tests if necessary to keep all local farms under close surveillance. All farmers are reminded to alert the department immediately if abnormal health conditions are observed in pigs.   It added that up till now, the incident has affected only one pig farm but not the operation of slaughterhouses nor the overall supply of live pigs as live pigs from other sources can make up the supply.   The department also pointed out that ASF is not a zoonotic disease and will not infect humans, so it does not pose any food safety risk.
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