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Taiwan seeks status as foot-and-mouth disease free country without vaccination

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Premier Su Tseng-chang visited the Council of Agriculture's Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI) on Monday to inspect efforts to make Taiwan a foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease free country and end the practice of vaccination.

Becoming FMD-free is Taiwan's primary objective for a more competitive pork industry, the premier said. With the one-year observation period following cessation of the vaccination program in July 2018 coming to an end, the government will apply to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) next month for status as "FMD-free where vaccination is not practiced." Taiwan hopes to obtain OIE's recognition in May 2020 to create new growth opportunities for the nation's pork exporters and pig farming businesses.

After many years of effort, Taiwan has been able to bring FMD under control and is now moving from "FMD-free with vaccination" to "FMD-free without vaccination," the premier continued. In addition, the Hog Cholera Division at the AHRI has been listed by the OIE as one of the world's eight reference laboratories for classical swine fever, an achievement he said was worthy of recognition.

Separately, as African swine fever rages in countries neighboring Taiwan, Premier Su once and again demanded all disease prevention and control measures be enforced strictly and without exception. He said he inspected Taoyuan International Airport on his first day in office and ordered that 100 percent of carry-on luggage arriving from high-risk areas be screened, with 26 additional X-ray machines installed to assist in the scans. He also demanded heavy fines be imposed on violators. These and other strong border control measures coupled with the tireless work of front-line inspectors have proven effective at keeping African swine fever out of Taiwan.

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