Published: Monday 15 July 1996

-- Even as the mad cow mayhem in Europe has begun subsiding, another animal disease row is simmering in this country. Hog cholera is threatening Taiwan's US $43 billion pork industry as well as the lives of its 10.5 million pigs. There have been scattered outbreaks of the disease in Taiwan's large stockyards for years. Hog cholera is a highly contagious disease that kills pigs suddenly from high fever and internal bleeding. According to the state council of agriculture estimates, in 1995, cholera outbreaks forced Taiwan farmers to kill about 1,100 hogs. By law, hog breeders must report all cases of hog cholera infection and destroy the infected animals. But certain cases have come to light when hogs were prematurely and illegally slaughtered and sold as pork even after symptoms were detected. However, unlike the mad cow disease, which supposedly causes the Creutzfeldt- Jacob disease in humans, pork infected with hog cholera is not believed to pose a direct threat to humans.

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