Tokyo, Jan. 22 (Jiji Press)–In the event a pig with African swine fever is found at a farm in Japan, healthy pigs at farms within up to 3 kilometers of the affected facility could be culled in order to prevent the highly pathogenic disease from spreading, agriculture ministry sources told Jiji Press on Wednesday.
A bill to revise the law on controlling domestic animal infectious diseases to enable preventive culling is slated to be submitted to the ongoing regular session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, soon, with its enactment expected within this month.
Right after the revised law is put into effect in early February, the ministry will amend its ASF prevention guidelines to allow preventive culling at farms within a 3-kilometer radius of an affected farm, instead of the current range of a 500-meter radius, the sources said.
There is no effective vaccine for ASF, which has not been detected in Japan. The disease is more infectious than classical swine fever, which has already been confirmed in many areas in the country.
Preventive culling is a major step to control the spread of ASF, but it could infringe on the property rights of pig farmers.
The ministry therefore will initially conduct preventive culling in areas that are as small as possible if ASF infection is discovered and then consider expanding the areas depending on how far the disease is spreading, the sources said.
The ministry decided the new range of areas where preventive culling will be carried out based on a measure taken by South Korea.
South Korea culled farmed pigs in areas 3 kilometers from a farm where ASF infection was confirmed last September. No new case of infection has been found at pig farms in the country since mid-October.
The range of areas for preventive culling in case a wild boar with ASF is found in Japan will be decided after opinions are collected from experts based on such factors as the levels of hygiene control at pig farms in the neighborhood, the sources said.