Livestock farmers of Bhaiphung village in Manipur's Senapati district continue to face huge losses as the death toll of pigs falling to an unknown animal disease surged to more than 120 pigs as of Sunday. However, no staff of veterinary department has visited the village till date.
When the Imphal Free Press spoke to villagers on Sunday, one Anderson of Bhaiphung Khunou said that the death toll from unknown animal disease has crossed over 120 pigs, including the matured and piglets. “Two pigs died again on Sunday and scores are in critical condition as the spread of the infection continues to hit the livestock,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bhaiphung village headman Adam Poutau lamented that no veterinary doctors were deputed so far to look into the grim situation facing the locals. He urged the veterinary department to step in at the earliest so that no livestock dies for want of proper attention, and the grievances of the rearers are taken care of.
When the Imphal Free Press first reported the occurrence of unknown animal disease on June 28, over 100 pigs had died, while several others were left in critical conditions.
The infected pigs showed bodily weaknesses, loss of appetite and died a quick death, Adam Poutau said, adding that the carcasses have been buried.
Bhaiphung village comes under Chilivai Bhaiphung subdivision in Manipur's Senapati district.
Sinakeithei village in Ukhrul district had earlier reported the deaths of over 100 pigs due to an unknown animal disease, while scores were left in critical condition. Deaths of pigs were also reported from Khamphasom tang, Ukhrul and Muirei village in Ukhrul district and while several others were affected.
Sources told the Imphal Free Press the death of the pigs occurred in May and June. A team of veterinary department Ukhrul led by joint director Dr N Bhubaneshwar Singh had earlier visited Sinakeithei village and collected the sample of the carcasses of the pigs.
Sinakeithei village headman Vashai Canaan Phungshim Zimik had said that the unknown disease reportedly hit the village in May 2022 and killed around 50 pigs, including piglets, and left several infected.
According to Zimik, the disease-stricken pigs initially show bodily weaknesses, loss of appetite, regurgitation, followed by a quick death.
Nearly 100 pigs in one of the piggery farms located at Grihang village in Kamjong district also fell to African swine fever as earlier told to the Imphal Free Press by the veterinary and animal husbandry department, Kamjong district.
Following reports of the disease outbreak published in the Imphal Free Press earlier, a team of Veterinary department Ukhrul had also visited Sinakeithei village on June 3 to take stock of the situation, and collected samples of the carcasses.
Earlier, an official of the veterinary and animal husbandry department, Kamjong district had told the Imphal Free Press that human visitors to the district could be the source of the highly contagious African swine fever outbreak among pigs in Kamjong district.
The Manipur Progressive Piggery Farmers’ Association had earlier raised several questions regarding measures taken by the authorities concerned to prevent the spread of the infection and illegal livestock trade. Association general secretary Khundrakpam Malemnganba had also expressed concerns over whether the outbreak was linked with illegal trade of pig and pork products being reportedly carried out with neighbouring Myanmar.
Malemngaba drew the attention of the government and authorities concerned to closely monitor and ensure that the infected animals are not sold as meat to prevent further spread of the infection. He also urged the government to provide compensation to the farmers duly by culling the infected animals and disposing them of by following protocols without further delay.
These measures will be the most effective way to deal with the outbreak for the time being, he stated, adding that failure to do so will only prove to be more disastrous. The government should be proactive in spreading awareness and fill in where farmers’ associations are not able to raise awareness, he had suggested.