Japan plans mass cull amid swine fever outbreak

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Japanese authorities are to cull about 2,400 pigs in central Japan on Friday following the confirmation of two more cases of swine fever at farms in the region, the central government said.

“It is extremely difficult to foresee when the outbreak will wind down,” Farm Minister, Takamori Yoshikawa, told a news conference, referring to the epidemic.

The Aichi prefectural government reported the 15th and 16th cases of swine fever, also known as hog cholera, in pigs in the cities of Seto and Tahara since September.

Authorities detected the virus at one farm in Seto during their inspection, following the outbreak at nearby facilities earlier this week.

Another case was confirmed at the Tahara farm after one pig was found dead there on Thursday.

The local government has suspended shipments of pigs and the transportation of feed crop and droppings from facilities located within 10 kilometres of each of the two farms.

The government says the disease poses no risk to humans but a series of outbreaks has hurt local farmers’ livelihoods.

In September, Japan’s first swine fever outbreak in 16 years was confirmed at a farm in neighbouring Gifu, and two months later, the second case was reported at a Gifu public livestock park.