At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang applauded Taiwan for earning recognition from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a country free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) where vaccination is not practiced. Taiwan on Tuesday finally joined Japan as one of the only two countries in Asia to be accorded that designation, after 24 long years of effort. He thanked the sectors involved and urged all to take this opportunity to develop a modern, eco-friendly pig farming industry that will again show the world Taiwan's high standards of disease prevention.
An FMD outbreak in 1997 dealt a heavy blow to Taiwan's hog farming industry as the number of pig farmers fell from more than 20,000 to just over 6,000. Export value declined sharply as well, and economic losses totaled over NT$170 billion (US$5.9 billion). That episode taught Taiwan a very harsh lesson, Premier Su said. When dealing with African swine fever, therefore, the premier gave very strict orders when he took office in 2019, instituting a 100 percent inspection policy together with the toughest of prevention measures. As of today, Taiwan and Japan are the only two nations in Asia to have held the line against African swine fever.
Taiwan received the new OIE designation thanks to the efforts of the entire nation, and this accomplishment showcases for the world the country's confidence in the high standards of its disease prevention work, the premier said. A nation that can export domestically produced pork is a nation that values the economy, fosters industry, and respects environmental protection. Taiwan's new vaccination-free status represents a success not only for industry but also the overall management of animal and public health.
The OIE's declaration was a hard-won victory for Taiwan following 24 years of assiduous toil. Not only farmers but the many public servants in central and local government deserve the nation's praise and thanks. In the coming new era, equal attention must be paid to both industry and the environment, Premier Su added.