‘We don’t know anything’: Bali pig farmers raise concerns on increasing swine deaths, officials yet to announce lab results

File photo of a dead pig that was irresponsibly thrown into the local river in Tabanan regency. Photo: Info Tabanan / Instagram
File photo of a dead pig that was irresponsibly thrown into the local river in Tabanan regency. Photo: Info Tabanan / Instagram

Update Feb. 7: Bagus said he misspoke when asked for a statement about the African Swine Fever plaguing the island. Bali officials are now saying that they are only suspecting ASF to be the cause of mass swine deaths of recent months. Read on here. 

Update Feb.5: Ida Bagus Wisnuwardhana, who heads the agriculture and food security agency in Bali, confirmed that swine deaths on the island were caused by the African Swine Fever (ASF). 

Original story follows. 

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, though this has yet to be confirmed.

“From the observations of our field staff, the symptoms are similar to that of pig diseases, such as hog cholera, salmonella, and ASF (African Swine Fever). They’re similar but we need to confirm this with lab results,” I Ketut Gede Nata Kesuma, who heads the animal and public health department at the agency, told CNN Indonesia yesterday.

Nata said that out of a total of 1,191 pigs that have died, 564 were from Badung regency, followed by 537 in Tabanan, 36 in Gianyar and another 54 in the city of Denpasar.

The pigs died after exhibiting similar symptoms, including high fever, vomiting and diarrhea. A lab exam is reportedly underway in Medan, North Sumatra, the results of which will be announced by the Agricultural Ministry.

According to local media reports, price of pork meat in markets across the island have already been affected by the mysterious pig deaths, with farmers reporting prices of around IDR22,000 (US$1.60) per kilogram, from IDR27,000 per kilogram previously. 

“Honestly we are concerned. I hear the number of pigs dying has increased. I’m afraid my pigs will have the same fate and it’s been a while, we have to know what caused this. We don’t know anything until now,” Ketut Suardika, a pig farmer from Gianyar, said. 

Made Raun, a pig farmer and seller from Renon, Denpasar, told Tribun that some farmers would even sell sick pigs at a discounted price. 

Officials previously said that pig farmers have been instructed to keep pig stalls clean and to limit people’s access to them in order to prevent the possible virus from spreading.

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