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ASF detected in Hong Kong slaughterhouse
The virus was detected in tissue samples collected from the condemned carcass of an imported pig.(Stock photo)
Culling of 6,000 pigs underway following protests 

African swine fever has been confirmed in a Hong Kong slaughterhouse for the first time, the country’s chief veterinary officer has confirmed.

The virus was detected in tissue samples collected from the condemned carcass of an imported pig.

Operations at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse have been suspended since the outbreak on 10 May, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Hong Kong’s agriculture, fisheries and conservation department revealed last week that the pig was imported from Zhanjiang in China’s Guangdong province.

According to media reports, the batch including the infected pig had already been released to the market before the disease was confirmed.

Sophia Chan, secretary of the city’s food and health department, is quoted in the press as saying all pigs at the slaughterhouse would be culled so that thorough cleansing and disinfection could be carried out.

Plans to cull the 6,000 pigs were initially hindered by pork traders who threatened to stand guard overnight to prevent officials entering the slaughterhouse. An agreement was reached during talks on Sunday (12 May), meaning authorities began culling operations at the slaughterhouse yesterday (13 May).

Affected pork traders could be compensated HK$20 million, EJ Insight reported.

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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News Shorts
ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.