CHINA, Beijing. Fewer animal transports and greater responsibility on the part of regional authorities are to help combat animal diseases more effectively. To achieve this, structures in the slaughter industry must also change.
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture recently issued the "Regional Prevention and Control Plan for Combating African Swine Fever (ASF) and Other Serious Animal Diseases," which must be implemented throughout the country from May 1. This essentially envisages dividing the country into five zones, each with several provinces, in which the prevention and control of animal diseases will be carried out regionally by local bodies with responsibility. A pilot project to this effect was already launched in 2019 in the central and southern provinces, which the government says has led to improved biosecurity and a more stable ASF situation.
The plan aims to strengthen preventive measures and control of ASF and other animal diseases at the regional level to prevent nationwide spread. In this regard, improved emergency response mechanisms and traceability of diseases and transported animals will be realized, therefore the reporting system and data collection will also be optimized. Efforts will be made to create ASF-free zones in the country and to protect them through strict transport controls and movement bans to the free regions. One of the key points is therefore to monitor the transport of pigs as completely as possible, which must take place in part along defined routes. In the medium term, the aim is to replace longer animal transports more and more with meat transports. To this end, the structures of the slaughter industry are to be adapted by increasing slaughtering and processing capacities in the most important pig production areas so that pigs can be slaughtered closer to their place of rearing.
No fattening pigs may be transported outside designated regions, according to the plan. To improve monitoring and control, a registration system for pig transport vehicles will be introduced and biosecurity at production farms and slaughterhouses will be optimized, for example through regular testing for ASF. Recently, cases of ASF had repeatedly become known in China because illegally infected animals were transported.