11 July 2024

The Thai government took precautionary steps to prevent and control the spread of the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) when the disease was first reported in China in 2018, said Government Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana today (Thursday), in response to a threat by the opposition Pheu Thai party to grill the government over the ASF issue in parliament.

Because of the steps taken by the government, he explained that Thailand, in the past three years, has been able to reduce the severity of ASF, while many neighbouring countries have sustained serious damage from the disease.

He claimed that, since 2018, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has added ASF to the national agenda and has instructed all relevant agencies to take steps to contain the virus, adding that the cabinet has approved over 1.5 billion baht throughout the period to implement plans to prevent the spread of the disease.

A contingency plan and clinical practice guidelines were developed by a technical committee, war rooms were set up and data from ASF outbreaks in China and Vietnam were obtained, to enable risk mapping based on a spatial multi-criteria decision analysis (SMCDA) platform, said Thanakorn.

Moreover, he said that officials were sent to visit pig farms, to assess their animals’ conditions, and to educate the farmers about the disease, that it does not infect humans and that pork can be consumed if properly cooked.

He went on to say that several small scale pig farmers have been compensated for the pigs which have been culled, to prevent the spread of the disease.

Thanakorn also said the government is ready to answer the opposition’s questions about the matter in parliament, as he denied the accusation that the government has covered up the truth about ASF outbreaks.

Mass flooding late last year and ASF outbreaks have killed millions of pigs in Thailand, especially breeders, resulting in a shortage of live pigs. Compounded by the rising prices of animal feed and medication, pork prices in the domestic market have jumped sharply, affecting both vendors and consumers.