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Vietnam suspends live pig imports from Thailand (updated)

In a remarkable move, Vietnam has announced to suspend the import of live pigs from Thailand following the discovery of African Swine Fever (ASF) in a batch of imported hogs this month, the government said in a statement on Friday. The Thai will launch an investigation but stated found any traces of ASFv so far.

News agency Reuters reported that the move aimed to prevent the disease spreading to the domestic pig herd, the statement said, adding that the suspension will take effect from June 30. According to the government, ASF was found in a batch of 980 live pigs imported from Thailand on May 19.

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Pigs on transport in Thailand. Photo: Suwapat Imchalee / Eyeem | ANP
Pigs on transport in Thailand. Photo: Suwapat Imchalee / Eyeem | ANP

Pigs for slaughter in Vietnam

The pigs were intended for slaughter in Vietnam. As a result of the ASF epidemic, supplies of pigs have been relatively low, leading to high prices. That situation has been cooling down in recent weeks already.

According to state media, quoting the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) earlier this year, Vietnam imported more than 500,000 live pigs from Thailand in the 2nd half of 2020.

No official ASF outbreaks in Thailand as yet

The news is remarkable as Thailand has officially never reported outbreaks of African Swine Fever, thus officially being an oasis of disease-free zone in South East Asia. All surrounding countries have officially reported outbreaks – Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia have.

The country holds a strong trade position in Asia and does export both pigs and pigmeat.

Thailand and Vietnam do not share borders. According to the website Zingnews, the attempted importing had been happening at the Lao Bao international border gate, which is right in the middle of Vietnam, just north of Da Nang. The location has been marked with a green truck sign. The transport had to go through Laos in order to reach the Vietnam border. The shipment had a value of 6.2 billion Vietnamese dong (US$ 270,000).

Thailand: No trace of ASF virus in pigs exported

Quoting the chief of the Thai Department of Livestock Development (DLD), the Thai newspaper The Nation reported that preliminary investigations did not reveal any trace of ASF virus in live pigs being exported.

Sorawit Thanito, director-general of the department, said, “To restore confidence in Thai livestock products among foreign trade partners, we have ordered a temporary halt on export of live pigs from the company and farm from which Vietnam claimed they found the virus.”

A committee will be set up to investigate the issue.

The department also ordered all exporters of live pigs to Vietnam to perform laboratory tests at the outgoing quarantine stations by testing samples from at least 10 pigs per truckload.

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