Japan to Allow Pig Culls for African Swine Fever Prevention

Politics Economy

Tokyo, Nov. 25 (Jiji Press)--Japan's agriculture ministry will seek to allow the culling of pigs as a preventive measure against African swine fever, in the event that the disease is found in the country.

The ministry will submit a bill to next year's ordinary session of parliament, to revise the Act on Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control, ministry officials said. The law currently only allows preventive killings for dealing with foot-and-mouth disease, which broke out in Miyazaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan, in 2010.

African swine fever, rampant in Asia, is more infectious than classical swine fever currently ravaging mainly central Japan and does not have an effective cure. The ministry sees the pre-emptive slaughter of uninfected pigs in farms near infected sites as the only viable way to prevent an epidemic.

The culling measure is expected to apply to pig farms within several kilometers of facilities found to have African swine fever infections, according to the officials. The ministry will further consult with experts on the preferable scope for the measure, which is likely to deal a blow to the pork industry in the area.

The revision bill will also seek to strengthen the state's authority over swine fever prevention, in an effort to speed up responses to outbreaks of the African or classical strains of the disease. Specifically, the bill would allow the state to force prefectures to issue instructions or orders to pig farms with slipshod sanitation management.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press