Thailand denies swine flu cover-up as pig supplies fall, prices soar
The government on Sunday denied covering up an outbreak of African swine fever (AFS) in Thailand amid growing suspicion that AFS is to blame for falling local pork supplies and surging prices. AFS is already decimating pig herds in neighbouring Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam as well as dozens of other countries.
Thai pork supplies have dropped 30 per cent this year, and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered livestock officials to speed up inspections of pig farms.
The government insists livestock inspectors are following international standards and would report any Thai AFS cases to the International Animal Health Organisation, with no cover-up.
AFS, for which there is no vaccine, is fatal to pigs but harmless to humans.
Outbreaks in recent years have seen 500 million pigs culled in China and 5 million in Vietnam alone.
Thailand is now focused on developing a vaccine for AFS, with joint research by Chulalongkorn and Kasetsart universities reporting 60-70 per cent progress. A successful vaccine would be used to protect Thai pig exports worth more than 20 billion baht per year.
Meanwhile the Commerce Ministry is offering cut-price pork at 667 outlets across the country to reduce the burden of higher daily living costs.