The Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Tuesday officially declared Taiwan proper, Penghu and Matsu a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)-free zone where vaccination is not practiced, the Council of Agriculture and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced on Facebook late on Tuesday night.
Kinmen was not included by the OIE as the county remains a FMD-free zone where vaccination is practiced.
The news, which had been expected, would facilitate the resumption of fresh pork exports after a 24-year hiatus.
Photo courtesy of Chiayi County Government
“Beginning now, Taiwan can finally resume pork exports and Taiwan’s pork can finally regain its place on the world stage,” Tsai wrote.
The council would not relax its guard as it works to prevent the spread of FMD and African swine fever in the nation, council Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) wrote.
Chen added that the government hopes exports of fresh pork products could resume later this year.
He had previously said that Singapore was expected to be the first market.
The council said the nation’s pig farming industry had export sales of NT$60 billion (US$2.02 billion at the current exchange rate) in 1996, but was hit hard by an FMD outbreak in March 1997, which triggered the ban on exports of fresh pork products.
Prior to that outbreak, the nation had been free of the disease for more than 68 years
A few months after the outbreak, Taiwan began widespread FMD vaccinations and in 2003, it gained the status of an FMD-free nation where vaccination is practiced.
The government tried to end the vaccination program in 2009 in a bid to qualify for non-vaccination status, but the effort failed after seven FMD cases were reported that year.
Taiwan proper, Penghu and Matsu saw their last FMD case in 2013 and regained FMD-free status with vaccination in August 2017, while an outbreak in Kinmen occurred in 2015, resulting in the county only regaining its status in May 2018.
The government began a program on July 1, 2018, to eliminate the need for FMD inoculation everywhere but Kinmen, and in July last year it applied to the OIE for FMD-free status.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
A total of 5.51 million pigs are being raised nationwide and pig farming last year was valued at NT$70.9 billion, council data showed.
ESPIONAGE CHARGE: A TAO spokesperson said that the rights of Shih Cheng-ping were ‘fully safeguarded’ during the hearing, which handed him four years in prison China sentenced Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏), a former National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor, to four years in jail for espionage, officials said yesterday. The ruling came a month after Shih made a televised “confession” on state media. Shih, who is also a former chief economist for Chinese conglomerate Huaxia Group (華夏集團), was found guilty by a Chinese court on Tuesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) told a news briefing. Shih — who vanished after traveling to China in August 2018 — was among Taiwanese who China Central Television (CCTV) last month showed confessing to spying. CCTV often broadcasts suspects admitting to crimes, even
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —
VIGILANCE: From tomorrow all arrivals must provide the result of a PCR test issued within three days of boarding, and the CECC asked people to report anyone who has faked their result The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) expects an increase in the number of returning travelers in the coming days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, adding that the varying qualities of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reports from other countries is a big concern. Chen, who heads the center, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders scholarship award ceremony in Taipei. “As the global COVID-19 situation is worsening, and with some holidays coming up, there might be an increase in the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to Taiwan,” he
SKIN, ENTRAILS: Placards also dotted the legislative chamber, with slogans such as ‘Oppose ractopamine pork — not US pork’ and ‘Much ado about nothing’ Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday pelted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) with pig skin and entrails as he addressed the Legislative Yuan on pork imports for the first time since the KMT’s boycott began on Sept. 18. Opposition lawmakers have been demanding an apology from the government for its decision to lift its ban on the importation of US pork containing residues of the livestock drug ractopamine. After Su arrived at 10am for his 13th attempt to deliver a regular policy report, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus moved to change the agenda to accommodate the premier. The motion resulted in cries of