Japan gears up for pig culls to prevent African swine fever

Japan’s agriculture ministry has announced it will seek to allow pig culls as a preventive measure against African swine fever, which is currently not permitted by the law, if the disease is detected in Japan.

Japan Times has reported that the ministry will submit a bill to the Diet, the country’s bicameral legislature, next year to revise the Act on Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control.

The law currently only allows preventive killings for dealing with foot-and-mouth disease, which broke out in Miyazaki Prefecture in 2010.

The culling measure is expected to apply to pig farms within several kilometres of facilities found to have African swine fever infections, according to officials. The ministry will further consult with experts on the preferable scope for the measure, which is likely to deal a blow to the pork industry.

The bill will also seek to strengthen the government’s authority over swine fever prevention in an effort to speed up the response to outbreaks. It would allow the central government to force prefectures to issue instructions or orders to pig farms with substandard sanitation management.

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