Culling of pigs to prevent spread of African swine fever in Wayanad district of Kerala, where it was recently reported, commenced from Sunday after facing some opposition from a farmer who was affected by the government decision.
The sub-collector of Mananthavady, where the disease was reported from two farms, said the farmer in question and others were convinced to cooperate with the culling process by showing them the test reports received from the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal where the samples were sent.
The sub-collector, who is coordinating the culling operations, further said the affected farmer, who owns 360 pigs, was informed that the measures were being taken as per the national protocol to prevent spread of the disease to other areas or farms and he agreed to cooperate with the process.
She also said the compensation process for the affected farmers would be expedited.
Pigs at two farms in Mananthavady area of Wayanad district tested positive for the disease, with all the animals in one farm dying of African swine fever, the official said.
In the other farm, the culling operations began on Sunday and would be completed within a week's time, she added.
Earlier in the day, the farm owner having 360 pigs told a TV channel that he does not believe animals in his farm were infected as the swine which tested positive did not look sick.
He had said that he wanted the government to wait and watch for a few days and then decide whether to cull the pigs or not.
A representative of a farmers association in the Wayanad district had also told a TV channel that since the pigs that tested positive are still healthy, the authorities should maybe wait and watch for a few more days before going ahead with the culling.
He had also said a representation to that effect has been made to the authorities.
Kerala Minister for Animal Husbandry J Chinchu Rani had on Friday confirmed the infection in the state and directed the pig farms to strictly implement the biosecurity and waste disposal mechanism as part of the swine fever action plan.
The disease was confirmed among pigs of the two farms after the samples were tested at the lab in Bhopal.
Pursuant to the test results, the state government had extended the ban on inter-state sale and transportation of pigs and pork-related products.
Kerala had earlier this month tightened biosecurity measures following an alert from the Centre that African swine fever had been reported in Bihar and a few northeastern states.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African swine fever is a highly contagious and fatal viral disease of domestic pigs.
It was first detected in Kenya, East Africa, in 1921 as a disease that killed settlers' pigs. Contact with warthogs was proven to be an important factor in transmission of the virus.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)