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What is needed to keep Singapore free of animal diseases: Khaw

High veterinary standards, best measures and international cooperation help keep lifestock industry from devastation, and minimise risk of infection jumping species to humans, Minister for National Development writes in a blogpost.

SINGAPORE: High veterinary standards must be upheld to keep Singapore free of animal diseases, and minimise the risk of such diseases devastating the livestock industry or spreading to humans, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan wrote in a blogpost on Wednesday (June 25).

"Serious animal diseases ... can devastate the livestock industry. Although Singapore does not have a large livestock industry, we have a significant transhipment and re-export market and being free from such animal diseases is a big plus," Mr Khaw wrote in his blog.

"Moreover, some of these animal diseases are zoonotic, which means that they can jump species and pose an infection risk to humans. This is why we maintain high veterinary standards, stay alert to disease outbreaks elsewhere and act on them, when necessary."

Mr Khaw noted that the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) certified Singapore as being free of two animal diseases - Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), which are highly contagious diseases that can affect animals such as cattle, sheep and goats - at its World Assembly of Delegates last month.

The OIE already recognises Singapore as being free from other animal diseases, including Rabies, Foot and Mouth Disease and African Horse Sickness.

COMBATING THE SPREAD OF AFRICAN SWINE FEVER

In February, Singapore suspended pork imports from Poland, where there were detections of African Swine Fever (ASF), a highly-contagious haemorrhagic disease of pigs for which there is no vaccine or treatment available.

"The Polish authorities have acted swiftly to contain the outbreak and have been keeping us informed through regular updates. Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore is working closely with them on a regionalisation approach, to allow for trade to resume from unaffected regions of the country," Mr Khaw wrote.

Singapore is monitoring the situation and international discussions closely to implement the best measures to safeguard food security and animal health status here, he added.

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