Japan prepares for ASF outbreak
Japan prepares a series of measures that will enhance biosecurity on pig farms in case of an ASF outbreak. Authorities believe that the risk of ASF entering Japan is increasing as several countries in the region have reported outbreaks in the last couple of months. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry plans to create a system to enable the culling of pigs at farms close to a farm where an ASF outbreak occurs even if they do not have the virus, for the purpose of preventing the disease's spread. Since the first outbreak was reported in Asia, in August 2018, more than 6 million pigs have died due to the disease. While other countries in Asia, such as Vietnam, China, the Philippines or South Korea have ordered the culling of the pigs within a three-kilometer radius of a farm where ASF is detected to prevent the disease from spreading, Japan intends to increase that distance.
Preventive culling was conducted in 2010 in Miyazaki Prefecture after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, an infectious disease affecting cattle and pigs. At the time, the law on animal disease control lacked a provision on culling to prevent foot-and-mouth disease, and about 87,000 cattle and pigs had to be killed without waiting on the law to be revised. It was only revised after the cullings.
The ministry is expected to prepare for ASF by revising the law to allow for the preventive killing of pigs before the disease enters Japan. This week, minister Taku Eto explained that he even consider the culling of all pigs in a specific region hit by the disease, at the same time. "Since preventive killing should be carried out across the board in an entire region at the same time, it is necessary to stipulate it in law. We are proactively studying it," he stated. In Asia, the virus has already affected the swine population in countries such as China, Mongolia, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines, East Timor and is believed to be present in Indonesia too.
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