Infected pigs given certificates clearing them of disease
Four people in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region were detained after a quarantine certificate — which certifies that an animal is free of disease — was issued for pigs that had African swine fever. The pigs were then transported into the region, local authorities said.
The improper certificate was discovered in Hohhot.
On Saturday, a veterinarian stationed at a slaughterhouse in the city noticed two dead pigs and two others with abnormal symptoms. On Monday, it was confirmed that the pigs had African swine fever.
Investigators from the regional department of agriculture and animal husbandry said on Wednesday that Zhang Zhongyan, a salesperson for the Jinquan pig farm in the region’s Naiman Banner, had asked Yang Yongqiang, the official veterinarian assigned to the farm on Sept 20, to issue a quarantine certificate that would be used to transport live pigs from Tieling, Liaoning province.
Dong Xiguang, vice-president of the farm, then paid Yang 8,000 yuan ($1,160), the investigators said.
The next day, two people from Tieling then transported 96 pigs from the city to Hohhot to be slaughtered.
Four people associated with the farm, including its president, have been detained. Police are seeking four other people from Liaoning who they say were involved.
The veterinarian’s issuance of the quarantine certificate and allowing the company to transport live pigs from an area with African swine fever outbreaks is extremely serious and illegal, the department said.
The department said that quarantine measures had been imposed in the area, and it will enhance oversight of veterinarians to prevent anyone else from illegally issuing and using quarantine certificates.
China has reported 20 African swine fever outbreaks as of Monday. The first case was discovered on Aug 1 in Liaoning, which borders Inner Mongolia. The disease has a 100 percent mortality rate for pigs but it doesn’t affect humans.