KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) held a dialogue today with over 200 members of the pig farming sector about preventing African swine fever (ASF) from entering Malaysia.
Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin said Malaysia remains free from ASF infection, though farmers were reminded to increase biosecurity on and around their farms to safeguard their business and livelihoods.
“Farmers and governments and public must work together to ensure the biosecurity of the country,” said Sim in a statement.
Industry representatives called for the government to crack down and increase enforcement on illegal smuggling of pork products and to strengthen border control as part of efforts to keep ASF out of the country.
They also asked for the general public’s cooperation to stop consuming illegal smuggled pork products such as suckling pigs.
Cooperation between farmers, government and public were deemed to be key towards ensuring that ASF is kept out.
The event which focused on prevention of entry and spread of ASF, saw the participation of Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sim Tze Tzin, Dato’ Dr. Quaza Nizamuddin bin Hassan Nizam of DVS, Dr. Azahari Sharidan Abu Bakar (Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (MAQIS) and representatives from the Federation Of Livestock Farmers Associations Of Malaysia.
ASF, a disease which kills nearly all pigs infected with the virus in a manner reminiscent of Ebola in humans, has been spreading throughout Asia from China and Mongolia to Vietnam and Cambodia. It is now poised at the borders of Thailand.
Authorities in all uninfected countries are on high alert to prevent the spread of the highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease which affects domesticated and wild pigs.
There is no vaccine for this virus. It is not known to spread to humans.
The spread of disease has led to millions of pigs being culled in massive efforts to prevent and contain its spread. Farmers and businesses have already been forced to losses amounting to billions of dollars.