Hong Kong pig farmers threaten to release their hogs at government headquarters if Tsuen Wan slaughterhouse is not reopened
Ng Kang-chung, South China Morning Post
via Yahoo News - 14 May 2019
Disgruntled pig farmers in Hong Kong have threatened to besiege government headquarters with their animals to pressure officials to take action against a privately owned slaughterhouse that has stopped operating amid a case of African swine fever.
The farmers complain that 1,000 pigs have been “stranded” on their farms.
They made the call with the city’s biggest abattoir, which is government-owned, shut for cleansing in light of an African swine fever case in a pig imported from mainland China. The private facility is also closed even though no pigs there were found to be infected.
Beef traders, meanwhile, also said their businesses had been hard hit and the city’s fresh beef and lamb supplies were also drying up after the city’s abattoirs had stopped operating.
In a meeting with representatives of local livestock farmers on Tuesday, officials promised to liaise with the private Tsuen Wan slaughterhouse. But the move failed to pacify the farmers, who said their farms had been “overwhelmed” by pigs.
“Our stocks of pig feed cannot last any longer than two or three days. If the pigs can’t be sent to abattoirs, we will have no choice but to release them at government headquarters,” said Lam Wing-yuen, a pig farmer and vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Livestock Industry Association.
Lawmaker Steven Ho Chun-yin, who led about 20 representatives to meet officials, accused the government of inaction. “[The slaughterhouse] is in breach of its licence. We see no reason the government can take no action against Tsuen Wan slaughterhouse.”
The slaughterhouse, which can handle on average 400 pigs a day, has remained shut down since Saturday. Some farmers claimed the operators had told them that slaughtering pigs from local farms would be a loss-making exercise for them because the numbers were too small.
Chung Wai-ping, a rural leader and one of the directors of the company that owns the facility, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Before the meeting, health minister Sophia Chan Siu-chee told the press: