Hog transporters’ subsidy deadline looming

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 28, 2019 - Page 2

Vehicles transporting pigs to and from slaughterhouses are required to install GPS devices for retroactive tracking in the event that African swine fever enters the nation and owners who fail to do so can be fined from June, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday.

The idea of tracking pig transportation vehicles with GPS was broached by veterinary academics in a meeting in January, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday as the Central Emergency Operation Center for preventing the disease held its ninth meeting.

As of yesterday, owners of 1,325 vehicles had applied to install the device, while applications for about 100 other vehicles had not been received, Chen said.

Those who submit applications to the council before Sunday can receive a subsidy for the cost of installation and data transmission fees for two years, while those not observing the deadline would have to pay the costs themselves, he said.

The council earlier this month amended the Regulations on Animal Transportation (動物運送管理辦法) and the Regulations on Slaughter Operations (屠宰作業準則) and asked local governments to help advertise the policy, Animal Health Research Institute section head Deng Ming-chung (鄧明中) said.

Starting from June, hog transporters could face a fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$150,000 (US$97 and US$4,861) if they do not install a GPS device or are found to have turned it off while they are at work, Deng added.

In related news, council data showed that the number of illegal hog products seized at customs has reduced from 62 cases per week in mid-December last year to 28 cases last week.

However, Chinese pork products intercepted at customs continued testing positive for the disease, showing that the outbreaks in China have not been mitigated as its authorities have claimed, Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said.

Beijing is likely still underreporting outbreaks, as it has only reported 118 cases since August last year, a total lower than the number of cases in Vietnam, which reported 209 cases in a month, Chen said.

Asked by a reporter to comment on Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) visit to China in recent days, Chen advised Han to bring back more information about African swine fever outbreaks in China.

If the disease enters Taiwan, the nation could incur as much as NT$200 billion of losses in the hog industry, which would far outweigh the NT$5.2 billion of orders that Han has claimed to have secured in China, he added.