Sixty-four hog farms nationwide do not have permits to raise pigs or use kitchen leftovers as pig feed, despite the government’s efforts to improve the quality of animal husbandry in the face of the threat posed by African swine fever, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) on Dec. 24 last year announced a subsidy plan to encourage farmers using leftovers as pig feed to switch to commercial fodder as part of its quarantine measures to keep the disease at bay.
Of the nation’s 1,930 farms using leftovers as pig feed, 736 have obtained the EPA’s approval, but 582 have yet to obtain it, the council said, adding that the remaining 612 farms have switched to commercial fodder.
The EPA said that it has inspected 216 hog farms and found that 64 had breached regulations.
Among them, 34 were using leftovers as pig feed without the EPA’s approval and were fined NT$1,200 to NT$6,000 each for breaching the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), EPA Bureau of Environmental Inspection Deputy Inspector-General Lin Jso-hsiang (林左祥) said.
The other 30 farms did not even have permits for animal husbandry and their owners face fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 under the Animal Industry Act (畜牧法), Lin said, adding that the fines would be issued by local agricultural agencies.
The council’s supervision of hog farms might have been inadequate in the past, but it has been paying more attention due to the threat posed by the disease, COA Department of Animal Industry Deputy Director Wang Chung-shu (王忠恕) said.
Since China reported the first infection in August last year, the disease has spread to more than 20 of its provinces, with a total of 109 cases as of yesterday morning, COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said, citing World Organization for Animal Health data.
While China earlier this month said that the disease has been contained and is abating, it has failed to provide evidence to back its claim, Huang said.
Twenty Chinese pork products seized at Taiwanese customs have tested positive for the disease, of which 11 were confirmed last month and two this month, he said.
The outbreak in China could be said to be waning only if the number of samples that test positive drop to one or zero per month, Huang said, adding that the next two months would be a crucial period for observation.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
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