Foot-and-mouth disease breaks out on two Taiwan hog farms
Foot-and-mouth disease has broken out on two Taiwan hog farms, 12 years after the epidemic hit the island and shattered Taiwan's pork export markets, press reports said Thursday, dpa reported.
All major newspapers quoted the Council of Agriculture as saying that foot-and-mouth disease broke out earlier this month on hog farms in Changhwa County and in adjacent Yunlin County.
Health workers have slaughtered 677 hogs from both farms, disinfected hog farms within a 3-kilometre radius of each outbreak site and banned the movement of animals in these areas, the United Daily News said.
Changhwa and Yunlin are on Taiwan's west coast, about three hours' by bus from Taipei.
Taiwan's Council of Agriculture is investigating how the swine foot-and-mouth disease erupted on the island after an absence of 12 years. Authorities are worried that the new outbreaks could delay a declaration by the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) that Taiwan is free of foot-and-mouth disease, the Liberty Times reported.
Foot-and-mouth disease broke out on Taiwan hog farms on March 20, 1997, prompting Taiwan to cull 3.8 million swine.
The 1997 epidemic destroyed Taiwan's pork exports as foreign markets halted imports. In recent years, only a few countries and regions have partially resumed pork import from Taiwan.
Taiwan used to raise 12 million hogs annually before the 1997 outbreak, with 7 million head exported to Japan, the top buyer of Taiwan hogs and pork products.
Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines currently import small quantities of pork or pork products from Taiwan.
Taiwan's current production is 6.4 million head a year, mostly for domestic consumption.