Beagles save the bacon: Illegal pork sausages sniffed out, preventing ASF outbreak at Bangkok airport

Photo via Facebook/ DLD-Quarantine and Inspection K9 unit

Department of Livestock Development (DLD) officers swooped to prevent an outbreak of Asian Swine Fever (ASF) thanks to the agency’s trusty beagles sniffing out a traveller’s illegal pork sausages at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

DLD Deputy Director and spokesperson Sophat Chavarnkul provided a report on the operation conducted by the DLD-Quarantine and Inspection K9 Unit at the airport yesterday, July 16. Sophat reported that the officers and their beagles successfully detected and confiscated 8.5 kilogrammes of illegal pork sausages from the luggage of a foreign traveller.

This kind of sausage is mostly found in hot pot restaurants in Thailand, especially Chinese-style hot pot dishes.

The sausages were seized due to the absence of a necessary health certificate. This preventive measure has been in effect since 2018, following the outbreak of ASF in Asia, aiming to curb the spread of the disease within Thailand.

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Sophat revealed that numerous travellers have been illicitly bringing pork products into Thailand, resulting in some contracting the ASF virus. Consequently, the DLD has been diligently monitoring the global ASF situation and actively curbing the import of pork and related items from high-risk countries.

To combat this issue, the DLD has enlisted a team of specially trained beagles from their esteemed K9 Unit. These beagles are stationed near the baggage reclaim area, dedicating approximately ten to 20 minutes after flights from at-risk countries have landed.

Beagles are ideally suited for this task due to their exceptional olfactory senses and friendly nature. Originating from hounds, they possess an innate ability to detect odours. Each beagle undergoes extensive training from a young age, commencing their operational duties after a rigorous five to six months of training.

Once these diligent canines catch a whiff of illicit products, they promptly alert the officers by lying down. They are highly proficient in detecting over 50 illegal items listed under the Animal Epidemic Act. These include animal meat, furs, skins, faeces, honey, processed cooked foods like ham, sausages, Vietnamese sausage, Chinese pork sausage, pickled foods, and even unhatched eggs.

The K9 unit’s official Facebook page shared images of the operation, garnering praise from numerous Thai netizens who flooded the comment section with compliments for both the officers and the Beagles.

According to Section 31 of the Animal Epidemic Act, importing animals or carcasses of animals without permission will result in imprisonment of up to two years, a fine of up to 200,000 baht, or both.

At the beginning of this year, two K9 dogs from Thailand, Sierra and Sahara, went viral on Thai social media platforms after they were deployed in Turkey to aid in the search for earthquake victims.

Thai K-9 dogs
K-9 dog, Sahara, in Turkey. | Photo via Facebook/ มูลนิธิเพื่อสิ่งแวดล้อมและสังคม : Environmental and Social Foundation

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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