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Jakarta Post

North Sumatra may cull all pigs to curb hog cholera virus

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Thu, November 21, 2019   /   09:07 pm
North Sumatra may cull all pigs to curb hog cholera virus Over 9,000 pigs have died in a hog cholera outbreak in North Sumatra. (Bloomberg/File)

The North Sumatra administration will have all the pigs in the province culled unless it is capable of dealing with the hog cholera virus that has killed over 9,000 pigs throughout the province so far.

North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi said that the total number of pig deaths caused by the virus had increased extremely quickly, from about 6,000 last week to 9,421 this week.

“The team is in the regions currently. If they cannot deal with the virus then all the pigs have to be culled,” Edy Rahmayadi said, Tuesday, adding that he had met with Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto in Jakarta recently to talk about the matter.

Edy said the virus could not spread to humans or other animals – only from pig to pig. To prevent the spread of the disease, the Health Ministry was processing the North Sumatra Health Agency’s proposal for vaccines, he said.

“Hopefully the vaccines can be shipped to North Sumatra soon so we can also prevent the spread of the virus,” Edy said. He asked farmers not to dump pig carcasses carelessly because doing so had caused restlessness in the community.

He said he would take legal steps against anyone disposing of pig carcasses in an improper place.

Hundreds of pig carcasses were recently found along the banks of the Bederah River and in Lake Siombak in Medan Marelan district, spreading the stench to nearby residential complexes.

Pork sellers have been complaining about a decrease in sales following the outbreak. One of them was Junita Tarigan, 46, who sells pork in Simpang Kuala market Medan. “People are afraid to eat pork thanks to finding [the pig carcasses],” she said.

Ana Ginting, 47, another pork seller told the same story, saying that no one bought her pork even though she had dropped the price.

The same was also the case with eateries selling pork. Leo Saragih, 55, the owner of a restaurant selling pork in Medan said that only a limited number of customers had come to his place to eat pork. Before, he said, over 100 people came to his place every day.

“Now we have only five customers a day at the maximum,” Leo said, adding that his revenue for the last month had drastically decreased from Rp 6 million to Rp 7 million a day to between Rp 200,000 and Rp 400,000.

Pork lover Henry Sitinjak, 48, said that he had stopped eating pork because he was afraid of contracting the hog cholera virus. “I am afraid of the disease,” he said.

North Sumatra Food Security and Husbandry Agency head Azhar Harahap assured consumers that pork from pigs with the hog cholera virus was still safe to consume because the virus had only infected pigs.

He said he had deployed a team to investigate the cause of the pigs’ deaths. Laboratory tests on blood samples taken from the carcasses of the dead pigs showed it was the hog cholera virus that had killed the pigs.