Go to Contents Go to Navigation

S. Korea almost completes culling of potentially ASF-affected pigs

All News 10:40 October 07, 2019

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's agriculture ministry said Monday it has nearly completed the culling of pigs potentially exposed to African swine fever (ASF) in border areas as it struggles to prevent the disease from reaching southern parts of the country.

As of Monday morning, South Korea had culled around 145,000 pigs since the start of the country's first-ever ASF outbreak in mid-September, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The number accounts for more than 1 percent of pigs raised across the country.

So far, South Korea has reported 13 ASF cases, all of them in areas neighboring North Korea.

As a preventive measure, Seoul has culled all pigs within a 3-kilometer radius of infected farms.

The ministry is also purchasing all pigs outside of that boundary in Paju and Gimpo -- cities that have reported five and two cases, respectively -- for slaughter and safety checks before the meat is released on the market.

"To prevent the further spread of the disease, it is inevitable we cull pigs as the outbreaks are concentrated in northern areas," Agriculture Minister Kim Hyeon-soo said at a meeting.

The disease is spread by contaminated feed or wild animals carrying the virus. No cure is available.

So far, all suspected cases reported south of the capital have tested negative, including one in Boryeong, about 160 kilometers south of Seoul, over the weekend.

Any outbreak in southern parts of the country would mean that the disease could spread nationwide.

Speculation has been running high that the virus may have traveled from North Korea, which reported its own outbreak a few months earlier.

The suspicion further escalated when a wild boar carrying the virus was found dead in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bordering the North.

Last week, South Korea's military ordered troops guarding the border to shoot on sight wild pigs crossing the DMZ and notified the North of the decision so as to prevent any accidental clashes.

South Korea is also utilizing helicopters to spray disinfectants over border areas.

North Korea, meanwhile, has not been responding to South Korea's requests to carry out joint quarantine operations.

S. Korea almost completes culling of potentially ASF-affected pigs - 1


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!