African Swine Fever takes its toll on North Korean pig farms

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African Swine Fever (ASF) has caused mass deaths of pigs at farms in South Hwanghae Province and North Hamgyong Province, leading the central government to take action to prevent further outbreaks, Daily NK has learned. 

“Livestock disease[s] are spreading rapidly throughout the province,” a South Hwanghae Province-based source told Daily NK on Monday. “The authorities have issued an order through the Cabinet that livestock disease control authorities send investigation teams made up of around 20 people to all the farms with outbreaks.”

From early May, pigs at farms in Haeju and Anak County started issuing bloody froth from their snouts and mouths before collapsing onto the ground. Around 10 pigs in one pig pen died from the disease, setting off alarm bells among the country’s livestock disease control authorities.

There were similar mass deaths at farms in North Hamgyong Province, including in Gyongsong and Musan counties and in Chongjin. These cases were immediately reported to the authorities.

“On May 6, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued an order to the provincial, municipal and county people’s committees to have disease control officials thoroughly disinfect and quarantine all livestock, cremate all deceased animals and submit reports on progress of the disease control process,” a North Hamgyong Province-based source told Daily NK.

North Korean authorities have reportedly continued to emphasize that it is forbidden to consume the meat of the diseased livestock, in what appears to be a response to rumors saying that ASF and other infectious diseases affecting livestock are similar to the “common cold” – meaning, essentially, that eating the meat is safe.

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