A group of newborn pigs would not be vaccinated against classical swine fever (CSF) as part of an effort to resume exports of pork by 2023, the Council of Agriculture said on Saturday.
The council hopes to end all CSF vaccinations within two years and resume pork exports to countries such as Japan, it said.
Japan bans imports of pork from countries listed as CSF-affected by the World Organisation for Animal Health, which includes Taiwan.
Photo: Chiu Chih-rou, Taipei Times
The council said it would start by not vaccinating a group of two to three newborn pigs at the end of the month, and leave them together with vaccinated pigs for seven months to determine if they become infected.
“This will let us know if there is any trace of the virus in the pigs’ living environment,” council Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said, adding that the council plans to have its first report on the situation by November.
The council would continue with the program, which the Executive Yuan has approved, until the middle of next year, he said.
Ending the vaccines is more difficult than ending those for foot-and-mouth disease, which Taiwan ended in 2018, Huang said.
“The virus causing CSF can make its way into many parts of the animal, such as the lymph glands, and there are many mutations of it,” he said, adding that the disease is not fatal, but can cause growth problems and other issues in infected pigs.
There has not been an outbreak of CSF in Taiwan in more than 10 years, and there has been no trace of the virus for the past two years, he said.
The council spent about NT$500 million (US$17.61 million) on its program to end foot-and-mouth disease vaccinations, and expects to budget a similar amount to end CSF vaccinations, he said, adding that the amount would be less than the amount spent on vaccines annually.
“If we are able to stop vaccinations and do not see an outbreak of CSF, then there will be nothing preventing the export of Taiwanese pork,” he said.
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