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Deadly Pig Virus Strikes In South Africa

by 5m Editor
18 August 2004, at 12:00am

SOUTH AFRICA - The Western Cape department of agriculture in South Africa has announced that all pigs on farms where blue-ear disease has been diagnosed have to be destroyed. Farmers affected by the slaughter will get compensation.

The measure is being taken to prevent further spreading of the disease. Tests indicate the presence of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, the official name of blue-ear disease, on 16 farms in the Western Cape to date.

"The farmers will get good compensations for their losses," provincial agriculture minister Cobus Dowry said yesterday after a meeting with farmers at Elsenburg. "They will be offered R2,100 for a pig with young, R1,400 for a female and R1,000 for a male. It's more than what farmers normally get when they bring their animals to the abattoir."

An estimated 3,000 pigs will be slaughtered, starting today.

Farmers are happy with the compensation, but said that the government had been slow to react. Some are afraid they will not be compensated because many of their pigs have already died from the disease or have been slaughtered by the farmers themselves to reduce further damage. They hope the department of agriculture will bear this in mind.

Dowry said, however, that the state had no mandate to pay for pigs that had already died because it was impossible to confirm what the animals had died from.

The viral disease was first identified in South Africa in June this year, and is suspected to have been introduced to pigs through the swill they were fed.

Blue-ear disease weakens pigs' immune resistance.

Source: eFeedLink - 18th August 2004

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