Move Forward MP accuses government of hiding spread of African Swine Fever

A Move Forward MP accused the government of covering up the spread of African Swine Fever in a parliamentary debate yesterday. The MP, Padipat Suntiphada, said ASF spread across the country in 2020 as a direct result of the government covering it up when it first hit in 2019. When the disease was first discovered, 300,000 pigs died either from the disease, or from farmers culling them to stop the disease from spreading. In the past, Thai authorities said the deaths were from porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

Padipat said vetrinary deans had tested the dead pigs and found ASF, proving the authorities wrong. In January, the deputy-general of Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development insisted the department had followed every procedure and “couldn’t have” covered up the spread of ASF. Meanwhile, pork prices soared throughout the country as the number of breeding pigs in the market dropped from 1.1 million before the outbreak, to 660,000. The deputy-general said the situation would take eight to 12 months to solve, because local piglets have to be at least six months old before they can be slaughtered.

Padipat said the rise in pork prices started rising in October from 125 baht per kilogram to 190-220 baht per kilogram in January, which he said is different from the trend in pork prices around the world. He added that the government’s crackdown on pork hoarding in frozen storage facilities was just a “charade” to deceive the Thai people, who he said haven’t been told the truth about ASF spreading.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Reuters

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.