Illustration: Pigs. (Image via CDC)

In fear of African swine fever, Thailand slaughters at least 200 pigs

On late Wednesday (18/9), the Thai Department of Livestock tabulated that about 200 pigs in two farms have been killed in Chiang Rai, north Thailand. The province is only 20 km from Myanmar.

Nopporn Mahakanta, chief of the provincial livestock office, stated that the slaughter of 200 pigs was a preventive measure following the mysterious death of two pigs in the province. The chief stated that these dead pigs were within 1 km radius.

Mahakanta added that it was according to the protocols to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak. He had brought the blood and tissue sample for testing in a lab in Lampang, north Thailand. While the test result will come by the next 14 days, Thailand is in high alert of ASF.

Thailand’s closest neighbors, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, have announced the ASF emergency. Meanwhile, Thailand has not announced any ASF emergence in its farms. However, to prevent ASF, Thailand restricts pork import from the three countries.

ASF was last detected in August 2018 in China, killing 40% of the pig population in the country known to be the world’s top pork producer. Spreading across Asia, South Korea (S. Korea) became the latest victim to the ASF, then banning all the pork imports from the infected countries.


However, Thailand should also be grateful for the ASF. Why? As pork is seen now as a dangerous export commodity, the world is staring at the chicken.

On Wednesday, the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, an industry association that operates 20 Thai factories, revealed that the percentage of poultry export to China had grown by eight-fold as the world’s top pork producer was looking for an alternative.

“We exported 33,500 tons (to China) in the first seven months of this year, up from 4,100 tons last year,” tabulated Kukrit Arepagorn, manager of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association.

Despite the price surge from $4,000 to $5,000 per ton, China is still buying from Thailand. Reportedly, seven Thai companies export their poultry products to China. Since 2004, Thailand was restricted to export its poultry product to China due to the avian flu outbreak.

However, Japan is still the top importer of Thai poultry products, importing 400,000 tons annually.