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African Swine Fever kills 5,430 pigs in Mizoram

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Aizawl, July 11: Pig farmers and rearers in Mizoram have suffered colossal losses of over Rs 20 crore due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) since February causing the deaths of over 5,430 pigs and culling of over 10,300 pigs, officials said on Thursday.

Officials in the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary (AHV) Department said that as the ASF outbreak continues unabated on average over 100 pigs die every day while over 200 pigs are being culled every day in different districts due to the infectious disease.

The officials said that pigs in over 160 villages in six districts – Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei, Saitual, Khawzawl and Serchhip – have been infected by the ASF outbreak so far after the disease was first reported on February 9.

The ASF first reported bordering Mizoram in 2021, when according to the AHV officials, 33,420 pigs and piglets died due to the contagious disease while 12,800 pigs and piglets died in 2022 and 1,040 in 2023. The first case of ASF in Mizoram was reported in mid-March, 2021, from Lungsen village in Lunglei district along the Bangladesh border and since then, the disease has resurfaced every year.

Following the outbreak of ASF, the AHV department has declared various villages and localities in the six districts as infected areas under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animals Act, 2009, officials said. With the fast spreading of the infection, the department has barred the supply of pigs, piglets and pork from the infected areas.

The state government also banned the import of pigs and piglets from neighbouring states and countries where often ASF infestations are being reported, AHV department officials said, adding that the outbreak of ASF mostly occurs when the climate begins to warm up and pre-monsoon rain commences in the state.

The government has so far provided compensation to several hundred families for the loss of pigs due to the disease. According to experts, the outbreak of ASF may have been caused by pigs or pork brought from neighbouring Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the adjoining states of the northeast. Mizoram shares a 510-km-long unfenced border with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh.

Pork is one of the most common and popular meats consumed by both the tribals and non-tribals in the northeastern region. With heavy demand for pork in the region, its annual business is worth around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore in the northeast region, with Assam being the largest supplier.

IANS

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