Malaysia to kill 3,000 pigs after African swine fever outbreak

Piglet with hay in het mouth smiling, photo: Christopher Carson on Unsplash
Piglet, photo: Christopher Carson on Unsplash

Malaysia will kill 3,000 wild and domestic pigs after an outbreak of African swine fever in the state of Sabah on Borneo island. The disease was detected in at least 300 pigs in the districts Pitas, Kota Marudu and Beluran.

According to an alert issued on Friday by the World Organisation for Animal Health, the virus was first discovered after a wild boar died last month. This was the first time an animal got African swine fever in Malaysia, the alert said.

Twenty-two pigs have already been killed in efforts to stop the outbreak, Sabah’s deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan said in a statement on Sunday.

“It is estimated that there are about 2,000 pigs in Pitas and about a thousand wild bearded pigs within a radius of 50 km (31 miles). All these animals will have to be killed,” Kitingan said.

African swine fever is an infectious viral disease in domestic pigs and other pig-like animals. It can be deadly to the animals, but they can also recover from it. So far, the only solution humans have for the virus is mass killing pigs and boars.

In 2018 and 2019, China killed more than 100 million pigs because of a huge outbreak of African swine fever. China has been trying to breed more pigs to ‘make up’ for the shortage. They’ve also bought pigs from other countries, like France, The Netherlands and Argentina, where animal rights activists tried to stop a pork deal between Argentina and China.

Since the African swine fever and coronavirus outbreak, Chinese people are also looking more and more into healthier plant-based alternatives to meat.

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