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Agriculture ministry warns of legal action over pig import loopholes

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Police detain a truck transporting pigs in Svay Rieng province's Svay Teap district on May 24. Photo supplied

Agriculture ministry warns of legal action over pig import loopholes

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has warned that it will take legal action against its provincial departments and production offices if they maintain any loopholes which allow live pigs or pork products that might be contaminated with African swine fever to be imported from Vietnam.

The statement was made in the ministry's directive, "Immediate Action on Preventing the Outbreak of African Swine Fever", which was issued on Thursday and obtained by The Post on Sunday.

In the directive, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said African swine fever had continued to spread through a number of countries in the region and the world.

In Vietnam, the disease has broken out in 38 provinces and one city, while approximately 1.5 million pigs have been killed since the first outbreak was officially reported on February 19.

“African swine fever has spread rapidly in Vietnam, starting in the north and moving into central areas of the country.

"Recently the disease has been spreading rapidly in some provinces in the south, especially along the provinces that border Cambodia. This poses the severe risk that African swine fever could spread to Cambodia on a large scale,” Sakhon said.

He listed eight points aimed to prevent the spread of African swine fever in Cambodia.

Among them, he proposed collaboration with neighbouring countries in the region, in order to share information on the current situation and inform pig farmers, vendors and slaughterhouse owners about safety procedures and the need to be vigilant.

Sakhon also called for an end to the smuggling of pigs and the importing of illegal pork products from neighbouring countries, especially Vietnam.

“If the directive is not implemented effectively or loopholes remain, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries departments and animal health and production facilities in the capital and provinces will be held entirely responsible by the Ministry of Agriculture, and legal procedures will be undertaken,” he said.

In March, some 400 pigs were killed in Ratanakkiri following the first outbreak of African swine fever in the Kingdom.

The culling of the pigs effectively controlled the spread of the disease in Cambodia and no new outbreaks have been reported, according to General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general Tan Phannara.

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