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Pigs tested for swine fever

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Police seize a pig truck imported from Vietnam into Kampong Cham province on Wednesday. Photo supplied

Pigs tested for swine fever

The Kampong Cham provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Thursday took blood samples from 10 pigs to be tested for African swine fever, after they were illegally imported from Vietnam and confiscated by officials in Koh Sotin district.

According to the department’s website, the Department of Animal Health and Production and district authorities have impounded a truck and the pigs pending the results of the blood tests by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Phnom Penh.

“If the experts find the African swine fever virus in the pigs’ blood, the pigs will be incinerated and officials will follow legal procedures,” it said.

Provincial Department of Agriculture director Sim Thavireak told The Post on Thursday that this was the third time illegally imported pigs had been intercepted since the ministry banned the importing of pigs from Vietnam in February.

He said that the first time 25 pigs were found, with 45 pigs discovered on the second occasion.

“From what I understand about the case, the driver of the truck illegally transporting the pigs was required to sign an agreement promising not to repeat the offence,” Thavireak said.

Thavireak said he had recently heard of another case in Tbong Khmum province involving another crackdown on two trucks illegally importing pigs from Vietnam.

However, Tbong Khmum provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Heng Piseth told The Post that he was not yet aware of the case, adding that he needed to speak to his subordinates regarding the matter.

General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general Tan Phannara could not be reached for comment.

African swine fever arrived in Cambodia from Vietnam around March 22, with the first outbreak occurring in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadav district. Some 400 pigs were subsequently killed at a family-run operation in Som Thom commune’s Lom Kaninh village.

More recently, the fever has spread to other areas in the province, including O’Chum district.

Ratanakkiri provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Soy Sona told The Post on Thursday that the situation in O’Yadav district was improving following the death of some 600 pigs – including some that were destroyed to prevent the virus spreading.

However, he said African swine fever was detected on April 9 at Kam village in O’Chum district’s La’ak commune, which resulted in the killing of 109 pigs.

“We are investigating the issue. We have banned any movement of pigs in and out of the village, but a couple more pigs have died in nearby villages. It’s not completely over yet,” Sona said.

He said interventions have included using pesticides in the villages and increasing awareness among pig farmers about African swine fever by making public announcements on radio and television using Khmer and indigenous languages.

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