Officials Deny Reports of ‘Mad Pig’ Disease

Government officials are denying rumors that sick or “mad pigs” were smuggled into Cam­bodia from Thailand, causing pub­lic health concerns.

Agriculture Minister Chhea Song acknowledged that pigs recently were smuggled into Koh Kong province, but he denied that they were infected with a disease similar to the mad cow disease that plagued En­gland. “Ac­cording to our investigation, no mad hogs were smuggled into Cambodia,” he said Sunday.

National Customs Director Pen Siman also said that no disease-infected pigs had been imported. He said at least 200 pigs from Thailand are brought into Cambodia every day.

Local newspapers re­cently published reports about the mad pigs. Some Phnom Penh vendors have reported a dramatic drop in business because of the rumors, Reuters reported Friday.

But Siv Nhan, first deputy di­rec­tor of Animal Health and Pro­duction, said that none of the pork on sale has been diagnosed with the madness-causing disease. “If mad pigs are really sold [in Phnom Penh], those who eat the pork would get crazy,” he said. “But so far, no one is getting crazy.”

Officials did indicate that the re­ports have prompted them to try to prevent illegal imports.

Huoth Thoung, director of Koh Kong’s agricultural department, confirmed about 200 pigs destined for Phnom Penh were smuggled into Koh Kong several days ago. Provincial authorities have checked the border over the last several days to prevent more swine smuggling, he said. “Now we are investigating the case very thoroughly and banning any import of pigs.”

into Koh Kong,” he said.


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