The Philippine Coast Guard has launched an investigation after 30 dead pigs were discovered at the end of January on a beach in the province of Oriental Mindoro, local media reported. Humerlito Dolor, the governor of the province, said all of the animals discovered by local fishermen tested negative for ASF. "We're waiting for the result of the investigation of the Coast Guard, about who passed by our waters because we couldn't find out who threw them away", the governor said in an interview with ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
The official added that the Coast Guard is now determining which vessels passed by the area when the animals were discovered. Law enforcement has already spoken with the crew of a ship that admitted to having carried 127 dead pigs on board. "Up to now, there is no admission on how they disposed of it", Governor Dolor said.
According to Philippine' law, dead animals can be thrown from a ship only if the vessel is located 100 kilometres from a landmass. The ship in question appears to have travelled at a shorter distance.
The development comes as authorities are attempting to limit the spread of Africa swine fever, which has significantly decimated the country's stocks. An anonymous source recently told SciDev.Net that the Department of Agriculture has underestimated the scope of the problem, resulting in shortages of pork and consequently a sharp rise in prices.
"The official figures of 431,000 cited by the Department of Agriculture as the number of hogs culled during the infestation period is an underestimation", said the source.