Japan culls pigs as swine fever spreads

Japan culls pigs as swine fever spreads

A pig farm in the central Japan prefecture of Aichi, a suspected source of a widening hog cholera outbreak, was allowed to continue shipping out young pigs even after prefectural veterinary officials noticed abnormal conditions in those animals in late January, according to prefectural and farm ministry officials.

"We must prevent the spread of the virus through tighter cooperation between the government and relevant local authorities", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at the meeting, asking ministries including the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to work closely and respond to requests from the prefectures.

Members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) undergo a quarantine operation at a hog farm after an outbreak of swine fever was detected, in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 6, 2019.

The government could end up killing a total of 15,000 pigs, Kyodo News agency reported.

"It worries me that we don't know how the disease is spreading", said a pig farmer in Iida, Nagano Prefecture.

Cases of the disease have now been reported in five prefectures. Infections have also been confirmed at four rearing facilities that received shipments from the farm in Toyota.

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Japan Times writes 130 hogs and wild boars in the country's Gifu and Aichi prefectures have tested positive for the disease, shattering experts' expectations. Two hours later, Aichi officials asked the Toyota farm to refrain from moving pigs out of the facility in order to conduct tests on the animals to see if they had been infected with hog cholera.

In December, GSDF troops helped officials in Gifu cull 8,000 pigs, following the sixth positive case of swine flu being detected in Seki, also in Gifu prefecture. It said it had found the virus at all the above places except Mie.

But they also said they can not deny the possibility that the delay in their response may have resulted in the further spread of the disease, so they will review what happened and consider revising the inspection procedures.

A man involved in pig farming who lives near the Toyota farm said, "There was a vet at the company (managing the farm)".

Hog cholera was detected at a farm in the city of Gifu in September, the first such discovery in Japan since 1992. The country declared the virus eradicated in 2007.

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