African Swine Fever spreads to six Gewogs and a Demkhong in Sarpang

Authorities in Sarpang are struggling to control the recent outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF). The first case of the highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs was reported last month from two villages in the district. The disease has now spread to six villages and a Gelephu Thromde subzone.

18 piggery farms in Samtenling, Dekiling and Gelephu Gewogs and Namkhaling Demkhong under Gelephu Thromde have been infected so far.

This was from 38 farms where livestock teams carried out examinations. The teams also culled 225 pigs, disposed of more than a thousand kilograms of pig feeds and seized around 200 kgs of pork.

Sarpang has more than 120 piggeries.

Livestock officials said the source of the outbreak was due to illegal import of pork from across the border by some hoteliers and restaurants in Gelephu town. A nationwide ban on the import of pork from India was placed in July after the detection of swine fever cases in a few southern districts. Despite the ban, officials said some Sarpang residents still imported pork illegally.

“We found that the affected pig farms had been taking kitchen (leftovers) from the hotels (and feeding it to their pigs). (Farms in) Raidangra and Namkhaling areas had been taking kitchen waste from two of the hotels and in Pemathang, it was from another hotel, and Dekiling one, it was also linked to the hoteliers,” said Dr Jambay Dorjee, the Incident Commanding Officer.

In a bid to contain the disease, authorities have banned the sale of pork across the district.

And this has affected the livelihoods of people running meat shops and restaurants in the district.

“Business is down. Chicken and fish don’t sell well. Most of the people prefer pork and beef,” said Binay Pradhan, who runs a Meat Shop in Gelephu Town.

“Right now we are selling beef, local chicken and fish. BAFRA has instructed us not to sell pork until their office lifts the ban on the sale of pork,” said another Meat-shop owner, Vijay Pradhan.

Meanwhile, the district livestock office says they are also advising people against visiting the affected places since this can further spread the virus. In addition, the Livestock office has also increased vigilance along the three checkpoints including the two international border gates.

Karma Wangdi, Sarpang

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen



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