Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered about 12,000 pigs to be butchered by the end of October in the areas where people are most affected by African swine fever (ASF). Officials said that Assam’s poultry sector is already affected due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Along with it, now 18,000 pigs have died in the state due to African swine fever. The first ASF case was reported the in May.
The owners of the pig farm say that the government’s figure is incorrect, as more than 100,000 pigs have died due to the disease. There is no vaccine of the disease even thoughits death rate is 90 to 100%. Farm owners have complained that neither any relief nor compensation has been made by the government.
According to the ‘World Organization for Animal Health’, ASF is a serious viral disease that affects both domestic and wild boar. The disease does not only spread from animals to humans but also spreads through contaminated fodder and objects such as shoes, clothes, vehicles and knives.
Shyam Jagannathan, commissioner and secretary of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, cited his estimates from May and said that about 18,000 pigs had died. He said that CM has ordered 12,000 infected pigs to be killed before the Durga Puja festival.
As per the protocol, samples of dead pigs will be tested in a region and a km radius around the area will be declared as an hotspot if it is confirmed to be infected with ASF. Then all the pigs in that area will be stamped and killed.
The area with a radius outside the epicenter be called the Surveillance Zone followed by a buffer zone of 9 km. There are 33 epicenters in 13 districts of the state. Neighboring states have also banned the import of pigs from Assam. According to the 2019 livestock census, Assam has the highest boar population. There are about 21 lakh pigs in the state.