Taiwan culls pigs over foot-and-mouth

TAIPEI, Feb 19, 2009 (AFP) - Authorities in Taiwan have suspended raw pork exports to Singapore after a foot-and-mouth outbreak on two farms resulted in the slaughter of more than 600 pigs, officials said Thursday.

Sixty-eight pigs at a farm in central Yunlin county showed symptoms of the disease on February 4, and an outbreak in neighbouring Changhua was reported five days later, an official at the Council of Agriculture's animal quarantine division said.

A total of 677 pigs were culled after the disease was confirmed, while the farms were disinfected, he added.

Taiwan, which exports 3.2 million US dollars worth of raw pork to Singapore annually, has suspended exports there.

It does not export the product anywhere else.

The last outbreak of food-and-mouth disease on the island was in 1997 when more than three million pigs were slaughtered.

Foot-and-mouth is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects cattle, pigs, sheep and other cloven-hoofed livestock.

It is not usually fatal, but an outbreak leads to losses in the production of meat and milk.

Source: AFP

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