China to support the creation of expert panel to combat ASF

China has agreed to support the creation of a panel of experts to assist in efforts to tackle African swine fever (ASF) in eastern Asia, in conjunction with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

This follows a challenging year in 2018 for Chinese pig production with reports of more than 300,000 pigs culled in the country because of the disease so far.

Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Dr. Yu Kangzhen, and the director general of the OIE, Dr. Monique Eloit, reviewed developments in the situation and the prevention and control measures applied since the declaration of the first case of African swine fever in Liaoning province in August 2018.

China is facing a major crisis for the pig production sector following the occurrence of African swine fever on its territory, according to the OIE in a statement.

During the meeting Vice Minister Yu offered his support for the creation of a regional group of African swine fever experts under the auspices of the regional FAO-OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF TADs).

The first inception meeting of this group could be held in China to define the terms of reference and the work programme for the panel, he added.

Dr. Eloit emphasised that controlling the spread of the disease to farms and regions that are currently free is “of crucial importance to limit the socio-economic and commercial repercussion” of the illness.

L-R: Dr. Yu Kangzhen, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China; and Dr. Monique Eloit, director general of the OIE

During the meeting, the director general of the OIE commended the regularity with which the Veterinary Services of P.R. China has been notifying the OIE of information on the identified cases of African swine fever.

“By respecting their international commitments, they are helping to control African swine fever more effectively in China and limit the risks of it spreading to neighbouring countries,” she said.

Vice-Minister Yu summarised all the measures taken by the Chinese Authorities in recent months for a better and stricter control of the disease.

These, he said, include: the ban of swill feeding practices; the reinforcement of the control of live animal movements; the registration of vehicles; and other numerous measures to improve the early disease detection as well as the outbreak management.

Dr. Eloit encouraged the Chinese ministry to continue their current actions, highlighting farm surveillance of domestic pigs and wild boar, and the control of movements of animals and animal products.