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Premier touts successes in combating major animal diseases


At Thursday's Cabinet meeting, the Council of Agriculture (COA) delivered a report on the results of disease prevention work carried out during the last few years against several major animal diseases. Premier Su Tseng-chang noted that Taiwan has recorded no cases of goat pox for more than 10 years, has successfully prevented African swine fever from entering its borders and has eradicated foot-and-mouth disease from the nation. Meanwhile, Taiwan continues to make great strides toward ending vaccination for classical swine fever and the COA expects to apply to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) in June 2024 for Taiwan to be classified as a classical-swine-fever-free zone.

Premier Su said that African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever are the three primary infectious diseases carried by pigs, and also present the main impediment to Taiwan's domestic pig industry being able to trade freely on the international market. In August 2018, China's pig population became infected with African swine fever. When Premier Su assumed office on January 14, 2019 he visited Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and instructed staff to screen every item of arriving passengers' cabin baggage. The premier additionally instructed 14 ministries and agencies to take steps to rigorously prevent the disease from entering the country. Today, Taiwan has prevented African swine fever from entering the country for four consecutive years, despite 16 other nations on China's periphery having suffered outbreaks. Taiwan and Japan are the only two regional nations to have prevented African swine fever from taking hold inside their borders, the premier said.

Taiwan has not only warded off African swine fever, but also successfully eradicated foot-and-mouth disease two and half a years ago. It has obtained WOAH recognition as a foot-and-mouth-disease-free zone without vaccination, a status it shares only with Japan in the East Asia region.

Taiwan is now bravely making strides toward becoming a zone free of classical swine fever, the premier said. Vaccination of pigs aside from breeding swine is being terminated between January and June 2023 and vaccination of all pigs nationwide will end in July 2023; the government plans to apply to the WOAH for classical-swine-fever-free zone status in June 2024.

Taiwan has also recorded zero cases of goat pox for over ten years, and the government is thus pushing to begin ending goat pox vaccinations in January 2023 so that Taiwan can declare itself a goat-pox-free zone to the WOAH in October 2023.

The premier directed the COA to continue assisting slaughterhouses and meat processing factories to meet hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) certification standards, promote modernization of pig farm facilities, accelerate establishment of cold chain infrastructure, actively pursue export markets for poultry and livestock products, and enhance industry competitiveness.

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