Swine flu: Pigs slaughtered in Egypt as farms closed in Jordan
Egypt started slaughtering some 300,000 pigs in the country Wednesday as a precaution against swine flu even though no cases have been reported there, infuriating farmers who objected the measure and demanded compensation.
According to the AP, at one large pig farm located north of the capital, farmers refused to cooperate with Health Ministry officials who came to slaughter the animals and they left without carrying out the order. "It has been decided to immediately start slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt using the full capacity of the country's slaughterhouses," Egypt's Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly told reporters after a Cabinet meeting presided over by President Hosni Mubarak.
In the northern suburbs of Cairo Wednesday, health authorities killed 250 pigs and buried them. Angry farmers demanded compensation and provincial governors paid them some 1,000 Egyptian pounds (about $180) per head. The farmers asked for an official government decision to set a price for each pig slaughtered. Meanwhile, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Wednesday that some pig farmers started to smuggle the pigs into desert areas to avoid the government order.
On his part, Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza told reporters that farmers would be allowed to sell the pork meat so there would be no need for compensation.
In the kingdom of Jordan, the government decided Wednesday to shut down the five local pig farms, involving 800 animals, for violating public health safety regulations. Half the pigs will be killed and the rest will be relocated to areas away from the population, officials said.