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Livestock Warning in Snow Hit Regions

by 5m Editor
11 February 2008, at 12:31pm

CHINA - The Chinese government has warned local authorities to be on the alert for possible animal epidemics in the wake of the heavy snow fall across the country.

The government is concerned that the severe weather may have put livestock at risk of epidemics such as blue-ear pig disease.

"Livestock are vulnerable to epidemic diseases after severe weather like torrential rains, blizzard and deep freeze," warned a State Council circular from the disaster relief and emergency command centre, ordering all breeding farms in snow-hit central, southern and eastern China to sterilize livestock pens.

Farmers should carefully examine their breeding facilities, clean up snow and reinforce damaged pens to secure proper indoor temperatures for livestock. Dead poultry and domesticated animals must be subject to harmless treatment and be banned from the market, it said.

No epidemics have been reported yet. But the command centre has ordered relevant departments to keep a close eye on hidden dangers that might jeopardize the safety of poultry and livestock products.

A total of 19 provinces and autonomous regions have been seriously hit by snow, the worst in five decades, and even in a century in few areas, since 10 January.

The stock-breeding industry also reported drastic losses. In Baoji City of northwestern Shaanxi Province alone, nearly 20,000 cow, sheep and pigs have been frozen to death after 200 livestock pens were weighed down and destroyed by ice as much as 6 cm thick.

In the southwestern province of Guizhou, the snow cost farmers 4.348 billion yuan (604 million U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses while livestock breeders lost another 243 million yuan (33.8 million U.S. dollars).

5m Editor