Thailand’s southern provinces are facing new risks from a viral strain called “African swine fever”. Experts say this is due to the many wild boars that are being smuggled in to the region over the border with Malaysia.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, the disease is highly contagious and affects both wild and farm pigs. It has been blamed for serious economic and production losses in other countries.
According to Livestock Development Department’s deputy director-general Jeerasak Pipattanapongsophon, smuggled animals are not properly checked and screened.
“People in Malaysia do not consume wild boars (due to their religious beliefs), so a lot of them are being smuggled into Thailand.”
He claimed at Friday’s media conference, that pigs that are being smuggled from Malaysia were not limited to the southern provinces, but have also been found in northern provinces, such as Lampang and Chiang Mai.
Jeerasak said he has been discussing strategy with relevant authorities, including the Army, to help prevent boars being smuggled across the Thai/Malaysian border.
“If the African swine fever spreads into Thailand, it will cause massive damage to the country’s pig-farm industry.”
“Wild boars are the most smuggled agricultural products in Thailand’s southern region,” he said.
Preecha Kijthavorn, president of the Southern Pig Farmers Association, said his group has instructed its members to strictly control access to their farms in an effort prevent swine fever from spreading.
SOURCE: The Nation