Hundreds of sacks of animal excrement have reportedly been lying exposed on grassland near the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) Animal and Plant Quarantine Center in Taoyuan County, which specialists said could risk the spread airborne animal disease.
The Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday said that an anonymous informant had reported passing the excrement-filled area along the West Coast Expressway every day on his way to work in June.
Animal excrement, waste pasture and padding material, put in hundreds of large plastic bags and in unsealed burlap sacks, were stacked in a large pile, with some of the bags already torn as a result of being placed in the open air, Apple Daily reported from the site last week.
According to the Transmissible Animal Disease Prevention and Control Act (動物傳染病防治條例) and regulations for the council’s animal quarantine station management areas, excrement, food, padding and shipping containers used to transport animals that may have carried disease should be properly sanitized, incinerated or buried to prevent the spread of disease.
“Air can also be a source of infection. Many viruses, if not yet inactive, can be spread by air and infect people or other animals,” said Chiou Chin-Cheng (周晉澄), a professor at the department of veterinary science at National Taiwan University.
Animal and Plant Quarantine Center Director Lin Yan (林岩) said the center was waiting for a certain amount of waste to accumulate before it was sent to incineration plants.
At a press conference at the council yesterday morning, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director Hsu Tien-lai (許天來) said: “Those [sacks] contain excrement from healthy animals. If any animal died of a disease, it [the excrement] would already have been properly incinerated.”
In addition, the council said it dispatched staff to tidy up the area yesterday and cover the sacks with canvas, adding that it would wait until the excrement was dry before shipping it to be incinerated or buried for compost.
The quarantine center is constructing its own incineration plant, which is scheduled to be completed by January and will ensure that animal waste is properly dealt with at the center, the council said.
The council also said in a press release that the sacks were mostly padding from cattle, sheep, horses and pigs, and that the center did not handle poultry quarantine at the moment, so there was no risk of avian influenza.