Thailand denies swine flu as pig stocks fall and prices rise
The Thai government yesterday denied an outbreak of African Swine Fever (AFS) in Thailand and said it wants to cover it up amid growing suspicions that AFS is responsible for declining quantities of local pork and rising prices.
The AFS is already decimating pig herds in neighbouring Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as dozens of other countries.
Thai pork supplies have fallen 30 per cent this year and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered livestock farmers to speed up inspections of pig farms.
The government, meanwhile, insists livestock inspectors follow international standards and would report all Thai AFS cases to the International Animal Health Organization without delay.
AFS, for which there is no vaccine, is lethal to pigs but harmless to humans. Outbreaks in recent years have killed 500 million pigs in China and 5 million in Vietnam alone.
Thailand is now focused on developing a vaccine for AFS, with joint research by the universities of Chulalongkorn and Kasetsart reporting 60-70 per cent progress. A successful vaccine should be used to protect Thai pig exports worth more than 20 billion baht a year.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department is offering cheap pork at 667 outlets across the country to ease the burden of the increased daily cost of living.
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