Indonesia is grappling with a significant outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF), a highly contagious and fatal disease that affects pigs, as confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).
The outbreak was detected on a farm on the Riau Islands, located near Singapore, with almost 300,000 pigs. ASF causes high mortality rates in domestic pigs and wild boars. The virus results in a variety of symptoms, ranging from high fever, loss of appetite and hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs to severe lethargy.
There is currently no available vaccine or cure, making killing infected and at-risk pigs the only containment method.
The Indonesian authorities have taken measures to control the disease, including killing infected pigs and those in their vicinity. However, the source of the Indonesian outbreak remains unknown, raising concerns about the potential for further spread of the disease.
This outbreak comes on the heels of a recent resurgence of ASF infections in China, the world’s largest pork consumer. In 2018 and 2019, ASF led to the killing of millions of pigs in China.
ASF outbreaks raise pressing issues regarding animal welfare. The slaughter of infected pigs and animals around them has significant ethical and animal welfare implications.