More than 1,000 pigs slaughtered for Balinese holiday Galungan amid mass swine deaths from mystery disease

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

Though the mass pig deaths in Bali in recent weeks have been a major cause for concern for citizens of the island, demand for pig meat seems to be bouncing back thanks to the Balinese Hindu feast holiday Galungan, Bali’s Agriculture and Food Agency says.

Twice a year, Hindus get together with the family to celebrate the victory of good (dharma) over evil (adharma) for the Galungan holiday. Galungan is a 10-day festival occurring every 210 days on the Balinese Saka calendar system, beginning today and closing on Kuningan on Feb. 29.

The sacrifice of pigs and feasting on pork is a major tradition of the Balinese holiday.

According to the agency, at least 1,123 pigs have been slaughtered ahead of Galungan with the number expected to rise in the coming days of celebrations.

“We deployed 160 officers to conduct health checks on the pigs before and after slaughter,” agency head I Wayan Wijana told Radar Bali yesterday. 

“All of the slaughtered pigs were healthy.”

Nearly 1,200 pigs across Bali have reportedly died since the end of December, according to data from the Agriculture and Food Agency in Bali, with officials suspecting they may have died from a virus.

Symptoms showed by affected pigs, such as high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting are similar to those exhibited by pigs affected by African Swine Fever (ASF). One official jumped the gun in confirming that the mass pig deaths in Bali were caused by ASF, but that confirmation was later retracted.

Reports of pig deaths in Bali have decreased significantly over the last couple of weeks. Amid the concerns, the Bali provincial government campaigned to promote pork consumption by guaranteeing that they are safe for consumption if cooked correctly.

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