China’s agriculture ministry has “zero tolerance” for those who conceal outbreaks of African swine fever, Vice Minister Yu Kangzhen said Thursday in response to online reports that some cases of the disease have not been recorded.
Since the disease was first reported in China in August, the country has recorded 143 separate outbreaks and culled over 1 million hogs, Yu said. African swine fever is not known to affect humans but is deadly for pigs.
While a number of restrictions on transporting pigs between provinces have been lifted, and cases are dwindling, the situation is “still very severe,” Yu said. Yu made the comments at the same briefing where he signalled that China would continue to import pork from the U.S. amid tightened domestic supply.
China’s pork production may decline about 30% in 2019 because of African swine fever, analysts at Rabobank predicted in April. A drop of that size would be roughly the same as Europe’s entire annual pork supply, the bank said.
Yu encouraged reports of any abnormal deaths of hogs, even if after investigation they turned out to be unrelated to African swine fever.
Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (firstname.lastname@example.org)