Sat, Jan 12, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Pig farmers decide not to protest after COA meeting

By Chien Hui-ju  /  Staff reporter

A veterinarian examines pigs at a farm in Taoyuan on Wednesday.

Photo provided by Taoyuan City Government’s Animal Protection Office

More than 500 hog farmers who planned to stage a protest against the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) policy regarding the use of leftovers in feed have dropped their plan, after they came to an agreement with council officials on Thursday.

The Young Hog Farmers Alliance earlier this month said it would stage a protest in Taipei on Thursday next week to push the council to ban the use of leftovers in pig feed to prevent the transmission of African swine fever.

COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) previously said that the council was hesitant to impose such a ban, because it was concerned that the disposal of leftovers would become another problem, and its priority was to ensure that farmers disinfected leftovers as required.

Farmers are required to heat leftovers at 90°C for at least one hour, the council said.

STRICTER REGULATIONS

Facing increasing calls from domestic farmers and veterinary experts for a ban, the council on Sunday tightened regulations by announcing that only farms on the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) regulatory list could continue feeding pigs leftovers, as they follow stricter disinfection and pollution control standards.

Unregulated farms would have a week to switch to commercial fodder, acquire EPA approval for using leftovers or stop raising pigs, the council said, adding that about 1,155 farms would have to make adjustments.

After meeting with veterinary experts on Tuesday, Huang and other council officials met with hog farmers in Chiayi County on Thursday to gather more opinions.

Alliance members have seen the council’s efforts to improve quarantine measures against the disease and are willing to cancel the planned protest for the moment, alliance chairman Kuo Chia-yu (郭嘉育) said.

By planning for the protest, they raised public awareness about quarantine measures, Kuo said, adding that alliance members also agreed to give the government more time because of a Cabinet reshuffle.

Every Taiwanese should play their part in protecting the nation’s hog industry against the disease, alliance member Lin Ming-yan (林明彥) said.

The council added that it would inspect farms using leftovers more frequently and continue encouraging farmers to switch to commercial fodder.

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