Swine fever spreads in Assam

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday ordered to cull nearly 12,000 pigs in the areas affected by the deadly African swine fever and asked officials to compensate the owners adequately.

So far, 18,000 pigs have died after contracting the virus across 14 districts of the state, a senior official of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department told PTI.

“Chairing a meeting with department officials, the chief minister said that in compliance with the guidelines of the Centre and the state government, and adhering to experts’ opinion, culling of the infected swine population in all the affected districts should be completed before Durga Puja,” according to an official statement.

The total number of pigs to be killed in this exercise will be around 12,000, it added.

The latest culling drive will be carried out within one kilometre radius of 30 epicentres across the 14 affected districts, the senior official said. In the aftermath of the ASF outbreak, the supply of pigs from outside the state was put on hold as per the directions of the central government. The disease was first detected in the state in February-end this year, but it started in April 2019 at a village in Xizang province in China, bordering Arunachal Pradesh. The African swine fever is a pig ailment, which was first reported in 1921 in Kenya and Ethiopia, and an outbreak is very rare in this part of the country.