Pig farms in Malaysian state ordered to close

MALAYSIA - Authorities ordered the closure of more than 80 pig farms owned by ethnic Chinese in a southern Malaysia state, claiming they flouted cleanliness and health guidelines, news reports said Thursday.

Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam stressed, however, that the state government has no objections to pig farming in principle, despite having received complaints about the farms from the Malay Muslim majority community, The Star newspaper reported.

Ethnic Malay Muslims, who comprise nearly 60 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people, consider pigs to be unclean. Pig farms are run by ethnic Chinese Buddhists and Christians, who constitute about a quarter of the population.

"There is no proper sewerage system, animals are reared in overcrowded pens, and the farmers have no regard for hygiene," Ali was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times daily.

He said there was a "very high risk" of disease outbreaks, such as the Nipah virus that laid waste to hog farms in Negri Sembilan, a state just north of Malacca, in 1999.

The farms have to close by the end of this month but will be allowed to resume operations if they follow veterinary health guidelines, Ali said.

The 1999 Nipah virus outbreak infected hundreds of thousands of pigs in Negri Sembilan and killed 84 people. Some 1 million pigs were slaughtered to curb the spread of the virus, which was believed to have infected humans through direct contact with the animals.

Source: Pravda
calendar icon 16 March 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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