Authorities in Kandal province on Saturday killed and burned the corpses of 19 pigs suspected of being smuggled in from Vietnam in an effort to stem the spread of blue ear disease.
Ul Dorin, deputy chief of the province’s health department, said animal health officials in Ponhea Leu district seized 49 pigs transported illegally from Kompong Cham province on Sept 22. He said the pigs began dying in quick succession and that blood tests showed they were infected with blue ear.
The 19 still alive as of Saturday were slaughtered and burned.
Mr Dorin said the man transporting the pigs was carrying a shipment certificate bearing a false name and an expired transport date but was not arrested or fined because the offense was a misdemeanor.
“We are suspicious about the source of these pigs,” he said. “We are increasing our efforts to prevent pig imports.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a ban on pig imports a month ago in hopes of curbing a blue ear outbreak that has already resulted in the deaths of thousands of swine across the country.
Despite the ban, Srun Pov, deputy president of the Cambodian Pig Raisers Association, suspected that the animals seized in Kandal arrived from Vietnam. He said some 1,000 pigs have been smuggled into Cambodia since the ban took effect.
“The smugglers transport the pigs from Vietnam by boat,” he said. “I request that the government and authorities along the border help prevent this.”
Ing Eang, a border police officer in Svay Rieng province’s Chrey Thom district, said local authorities had stepped up their efforts since the ban.
“The amount of pig smuggling has decreased compared to last year because all state institutions are preventing the smuggling,” he said. “If there is smuggling, it is caused by businessmen. We as authorities will arrest those who smuggle.”
In 2007 the government imposed a ban on pig imports from Thailand and Vietnam to bolster the domestic pig-farming industry and protect against foot-and-mouth disease. The ban was lifted seven months later because, officials said, pork prices had risen too much.