FMD Campaign Entering Critical Phase

TAIWAN - The campaign to rid the country of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has entered a critical period, with hog ranches around Taiwan gradually halting the vaccination of their pigs in five phases beginning yesterday.
calendar icon 3 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Council of Agriculture (COA) officials in charge of animal health inspection and quarantine urged local hog and swine farmers to cooperate with the government in efforts to wipe out the highly contagious animal disease once and for all.

FMD is one of the most contagious diseases among mammals and has a great potential for causing severe economic losses. It affects cloven-hoofed animals.

A major FMD outbreak in March 1997 dealt a severe blow to Taiwan's hog industry, as FMD affected countries are banned from exporting pork and related products.

The outbreak 10 years ago led to the culling of millions of hogs, and all pig farmers have since been required to have their animals vaccinated regularly. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the public and private sectors, no further FMD cases have been reported since February 2001.

On May 22, 2004, the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recognized Taiwan as an "FMD-free zone with vaccination."

The government's ultimate goal is to obtain OIE certification as an "FMD-free zone without vaccination" in two years, COA officials said, adding that to attain this goal, local hog ranches must stop vaccinating their livestock in a gradual manner beginning this month.

On an experimental basis, inoculation of pigs raised on the outlying island of Penghu has been suspended since March 2006. As the program has proceeded smoothly, the COA has decided to expand the experiment to hog farms on Taiwan proper in five stages.

Each stage will last for four months. In the first stage, only hogs raised in the center pen of each ranch should stop receiving FMD inoculation. Those hogs will be subject to close surveillance for health checks.

Source: The China Post

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