By Prim Chuwiruch
The Thai government will expedite pig farm inspections nationwide in an effort to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever after reports that the nation detected its first case in a pet hog.
The Department of Livestock Development will continuously conduct inspections in the area where the infection was found, and if confirmed, it will be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health to notify other member states, the government said in a statement Sunday.
Any farms found to be at high risk will need to have their swine destroyed to limit risks and farmers will be compensated for the lost hogs, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said in the statement.
The Cabinet has also supported the budget for added hog surveillance, Thanakorn said. In the past three years, Thailand has been able to control the epidemic well and hasn’t concealed information about the swine outbreak that has killed more than 500 million pigs in neighboring Vietnam, Burma, Laos and Cambodia, he said.
Concerns about an outbreak arose after a report that a miniature pet pig in capital Bangkok was found to have died from the disease after its owner had a lab test done at a local university, the Bangkok Post reported Saturday.
Any outbreak would further strain the nation’s already short supply of hogs, which has led to a surge in domestic pork prices to about 250 baht ($7.44) per kilogram from about an average of 150 baht a few months ago.
Prices could rise to 300 baht a kilogram ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations, when demand for pork rises. The Southeast Asian nation on Jan. 6 banned exports of live pigs until April in an effort to cool the price rally.