China is cracking down on illegal hog slaughtering and building more large-scale slaughterhouses to help control the spread of African swine fever, China’s agriculture ministry said Tuesday.
According to Reuters, this campaign to stop illegal practices will last from December to May next year, highlighting Beijing’s challenge in containing the highly transmissible disease that threatens the world’s largest pig herd.
In an effort to increase pig weight, some hog producers in China are injecting water and other materials into pigs after the government banned live hog transport and prices soared in major consumption areas, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on its website.
These activities have disrupted the hog slaughtering sector and are increasing the risk of spreading ASF. To stop it, Beijing will strengthen inspections of slaughterhouses and severely punish those operating without a government permit, the ministry said.
China’s plan to build more large-scale hog slaughterhouses will hopefully increase the number of pigs butchered there by 1% during the next six months, the statement said. Analysts believe this move will encourage consolidation of the sector.
Major pig producers are being encouraged to diversify into slaughtering and increase processing capacity closer to their farms, reducing the need for transportation.
“(The move) is also to regulate the slaughtering industry. Small slaughterhouses with lower butchering capacity will be closed, and for the big ones, it is good news,” said Yao Guiling, an analyst with consultancy China-America Commodity Data Analytics.