Up to 39 pigs were seized in Aizawl on Sunday; 82 were seized from Seiling village near Aizawl on Friday Credit: Representational image

Aizawl: At least 15 people, including 5 women, have been arrested for illegally transporting pigs and piglets from Myanmar, Mizoram animal husbandry and veterinary minister Dr K Beichhua said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters at his office chamber in Aizawl on Monday, Beichhua said that at least 262 pigs, including 102 piglets, smuggled from Myanmar, were seized by the state police in just a few months after the state prohibited import of pigs and piglets from Myanmar and neighbouring states.

The seizure was made on several occasions in Serchhip, Champhai, Lunglei and Aizawl districts, he said. Fifteen people, including five women, have been arrested in connection with the seizure, he added.

According to the minister, 39 pigs were seized in Aizawl on Sunday apart from 82 pigs, which were seized from Seiling village near Aizawl on Friday. Six of the seized pigs have tested positive for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), he said.

Beichhua said that PRRS has hit the state in 2013, 2016 and 2018 killing more than 11,070 pigs and piglets. “Barring six pigs found with PRRS recently, no fresh case of the virus has been detected in the state,” he said.

He said that the state government has been making massive efforts to prevent outbreak of PRRS and other swine diseases by banning import of pigs from neighbouring states and Myanmar since March 25.

The state animal husbandry and veterinary department also constituted a committee on response to illegal entry of pigs to Aizawl municipal area, he said.

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Apart from this, the state government also formed two surveillance squads, each headed by five doctors. The teams were instructed to raid and inspect places, where smuggled pigs were kept, on every Thursday within Aizawl Municipal area.

Beichhua also said that the state government has sounded high alert for African Swine Fever (ASF) following its outbreak in Asian countries like China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Combodia and Hongkong.

He added that the state government had constituted a committee on ‘Preparedness for African Swine Fever’ involving officials of animal husbandry and veterinary department and experts from college of veterinary sciences and animal husbandry to prevent possible outbreak of the swine disease.

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