Uncontrolled disposal of pig carcasses amid ASF outbreak raises concerns

While the outbreak of ASF has taken a heavy toll on the piggery industry, resulting in the tragic death of numerous pigs, it has also raised environmental concerns due to the negligent disposal of the carcasses.

ByB Rakesh Sharma

Updated 31 Oct 2023, 1:50 pm



In what could be termed as carelessness by some farmers or negligence by the government amid the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Manipur, reports have arisen regarding the unscrupulous practice of disposing of swine carcasses by tossing them into nearby rivers.

This has led to the unfortunate consequence of these carcasses making their way downstream and ultimately ending up in Loktak Lake, one of Manipur's largest and most vital water bodies.

While the outbreak of ASF has taken a heavy toll on the piggery industry, resulting in the tragic death of numerous pigs, it has also raised environmental concerns due to the negligent disposal of the carcasses.

Although the government has been actively involved in addressing the crisis and implementing measures for proper disposal of carcasses, a communication gap between the farmers has led to the negligent disposal of the carcasses.

According to an award-winning farmer, Takhellambam Pipi, who runs her farm in Luker, Imphal West, the current situation emphasises a potentially alarming communication gap between local farmers and the government.

She said that, on top of the losses from the death of pigs, many of these farmers face a significant financial burden when it comes to proper carcass disposal.

The cost of hiring excavators to dig burial pits and the disinfectants used to bury the carcasses often exceeds Rs. 2,000, proving to be prohibitively expensive for many individuals, she informed.

This problem is not limited to rural areas alone, she said, adding the urban farms, struggling with space constraints, also face considerable challenges in finding suitable sites for the disposal of swine carcasses.

Pipi stated that as a result, some farmers might resort to the regrettable practice of disposing of these carcasses directly into the river, or it might be an easy and labour-less option for disposal. However, she strongly objects to such careless disposal, without due consideration for the environmental repercussions and health hazards.

Since the outbreak of ASF, Pipi has so far disposed of (as per protocol) around 150 swine pigs and is now left with only 10 disinfected pigs. As a result of the outbreak, around 30 of her farm employees had to stop working.

In a conversation with the secretary of ALLAFUM, Rajen expressed that this reckless disposal method not only violates environmental regulations but also poses a significant threat to the residents and communities that rely on Loktak Lake for their sustenance and livelihoods.

One such community deeply affected by this disturbing trend is the village of Champu Khangpok, a unique floating village located amidst the expanse of Loktak Lake, he said, adding the lake, known for its rich biodiversity and as a primary source of livelihood for many, is now under severe threat.

According to Rajen, the first carcass witnessed by the locality in the lake was on October 19, and so far, above 10 big carcasses have been witnessed.

Stating that as these are suspected swine carcasses, none of the Champu Khangpok villagers dare to remove them from the lake or go near them, he said that the government has also not taken any action so far to remove the carcasses from the water body, even though a verbal complaint had been lodged with the authorities of the Loktak Development Authority.

The ramifications of this practice are far-reaching.

Not only does it threaten the ecological balance of Loktak Lake, but it also poses health risks to the communities depending on the lake's resources.

The potential for water contamination and the spread of disease in the wake of the ASF outbreak is a significant concern.

In response to these challenges, it is imperative for the government to bridge the gap in communication and provide more accessible and cost-effective solutions for carcass disposal. Addressing this crisis requires a multifaceted approach that balances the economic well-being of farmers with the protection of the environment and public health.

The symptoms of the first cases of this latest ASF in Manipur were detected on October 6 and were confirmed on October 12, with a pig farm in Imphal West declared as the epicentre.

Now, it is being reported in seven districts, namely Imphal West, Imphal East, Ukhrul, Bishnupur, Thoubal, Kakching, and Kamjong.

As per the government order, the area within a one-kilometre radius from the epicenter has been declared as an infected zone, and areas within nine kilometres’ radius from the infected zone have been declared as a surveillance zone.

According to the government order and preventive measures to curb the spread of ASF, the selling of pork meat is banned in the surveillance zone, thereby posing a threat to the health of consumers.

In normal days, pork meat is available at a range of around Rs. 350 per kilogram, but now it is available at around Rs. 150 per kilogram, defying the ban on selling.

ASF can have severe health consequences for humans, making these measures essential to protect public health. It is also imperative for the government and local communities to work together to contain the outbreak and ensure the safety of consumers in these challenging times.

To obtain official comments from the Veterinary Department, this reporter tried to contact the officials, but they are currently unreachable.

Meanwhile, a pig farm in Kamjong district belonging to one Honmi Athary (Chandrakhong, Shungriphai) has been declared as an epicentre of African Swine Fever (ASF) by the State Government.

Office of the deputy commissioner, Kamjong district notified that the Manipur Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department’s notice dated October 24 confirmed the outbreak of ASF at the said pig farm. It also listed certain areas of the districts which have been declared as controlled areas for ASF with immediate effect to effectively prevent, control and eradicate the scheduled disease.

As per the provision of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animals Act, 2009, all areas within 1 km radius from the pig farm have been declared as infected zones, while all areas within 10 km radius from the pig farm were declared as surveillance zones, it asserted.

The notification further prohibited movement of pigs (dead or alive), movement and sale of pork and feed within the infected zone and materials that could have contacted the infected or suspected to be infected animals.

It also said that culling of all pigs will be with proper information to the Veterinary officer and Animal Husbandry department by following proper protocols and all equipment/tools as well as vehicles used in the farms that have either infected or suspected to be infected pigs, will be restricted from movement without following proper protocols.

Any person(s) who contravenes the provisions of the Act or obstructs the competent officer in performing duties under the Act will be held guilty of an offense and punishable under the Act, it added.



First published:


manipurasfafrican swine feveranimal husbandrypork businesspig importpig carcasses

B Rakesh Sharma

B Rakesh Sharma

Staff Reporter, Imphal


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