Highlighted in the headlines, Samut Sakhon province was the site of a significant seizure operation involving 10 tonnes of illicit frozen pork in June, brought to light by the diligent efforts of the Department of Livestock Development as shown on their official Facebook page.
In an effort to maintain the integrity of the agricultural industry, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Thamanat Prompow stepped up to curb illicit imports. He took the bold measure of ordering the disposal of a staggering 4,300 tonnes of apprehended pork at a landfill in Sa Kaeo. This massive lot, taken into custody in July by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) during a raid at Laem Chabang port, constituted 161 containers and had a hefty value of over 500 million baht.
Preventing the influx of illegal agricultural products, notably the steady stream of smuggled pork, has become a critical focus area for the Ministry. Their goal encompasses the prevention of potential animal epidemic outbreaks, restraining market corruption, and safeguarding consumer rights, adds Minister Thamanat.
The complex task of managing the burial and disposal of the illicit haul lies with the Department of Livestock Development. The procedure will take place under their watchful eye at a landfill, conveniently located at the Animal Nutrition Research and Development Centre in Sa Kaeo.
Joining this operation will be representatives from various government bodies and industry associations. These include the Royal Thai Police, the DSI, the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand, and the Customs Department. Dr. Somchuan Ratanamungklanon, serving as the director-general of the Department of Livestock Development, has been appointed to lead the task.
Envisioned to be completed within a five-day window, the burial of smuggled pork involves intricate technicalities. Six large pits fitted with polyethylene linings will aid to minimize the after-effects of decomposition on the environment, Dr. Somchuan detailed. Additionally, pipework will be placed within the pits to discharge the gases invariably produced during decomposition.
The complete process is planned to strictly adhere to the guidelines specified by the illustrious World Organisation for Animal Health. One of the many factors causing grave concern about smuggled pork, Dr. Somchuan highlights, includes the potential transmission of African swine fever, a highly contagious, lethal disease.
In retrospect, from the start of October last year to the end of August this year, Thailand has encountered 238 instances involving 1,142 tonnes of smuggled pork. The illicit goods, valuing 190 million baht, excludes the massive DSI seizure. The disposal operations thus far have successfully neutralized 1,049 tonnes of illegal pork.