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Pork blows keep coming

Local | Jane Cheung Jun 12, 2019
<p>The shortage of live pigs from the mainland has more than doubled retail and auction prices compared to the level before the discovery of African swine fever in two pigs at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse last month.</p><p>About 30 people from the pork industry yesterday staged a protest outside the Legislative Council Complex and criticized the government for there being only around 1,000 live pigs supplied from the mainland daily, a quarter of the usual daily supply before the swine fever scandal.</p><p>Due to the limited supply, a third of the more than 100 pork traders have been forced to suspend their businesses.</p><p>Kwan Kwok-wah from the Hong Kong Pig Raising Development Federation said there should be a supply of at least 2,000 to 3,000 live pigs from the mainland every day so that the industry can operate normally.</p><p>Another pork trader, Ling Wai-yip, said the government is working too slow with mainland authorities in resuming the normal supply of live pigs from China and has failed to provide the industry with a clear timetable on when the supply will resume to the pre-swine fever level.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;ve achieved daily clearance at the slaughterhouse. If swine fever ever happens again, the impact won&#39;t be as big,&quot; he said.</p><p>According to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, a total of 1,900 live pigs - 1,800 from the mainland and 100 from local farms - are being supplied to pork traders today.</p><p>Yesterday, there were 1,953 live pigs, among which 1,612 were from the mainland. The average auction price yesterday was HK$3,038 per 100 catties of pork, more than double the usual price of around HK$1,300 per 100 catties.</p><p>This comes after two pigs from the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse tested positive for swine fever on May 10 and 31, which prompted the government to cull 10,600 pigs and close the abattoir twice to be sanitized.</p><p>In the Legislative Council&#39;s Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene meeting yesterday, the government said the estimation of compensation for the two culling operations was about HK$40 million - or approximately HK$3,700 for each pig - and includes HK$3 million of statutory compensation and HK$37 million ex-gratia payments.</p><p>According to the Public Health (Animals and Birds) Ordinance, the value of a pig slaughtered shall not exceed HK$300.</p><p>But the government also provided ex-gratia payments to cover the difference between the original market value of the type of pig and the statutory limit to alleviate pork traders&#39; financial losses.</p><p>jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com</p>


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