|Farmers in the southern Dong Nai Province sign a commitment not to use banned substances for breeding pigs. — Photo baodongnai.com.vn
DONG NAI (VNS) — More than 300 pig-breeding households in the southern Dong Nai Province yesterday signed a commitment not to use banned chemical substances such as lean-meat agents that have harmful side-effects.
The use of lean-meat agents was banned in Viet Nam in 2002. They include salbutamol, chlenbutarol and ractobamine that stimulate growth and quickly develop lean meat in cattle. It leads to increase in heart rate, indigestion or cancer in humans.
The signing of the commitment followed the recent detection of banned lean-meat substances in pork in the province.
Statistics from the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development show that the province has about 1.5 million pigs. In the first seven months of this year, 17 of the 84 samples taken by the department from breeding households tested positive for salbutamol.
In previous years, the use of this banned agent was found in small-scale households. Last year, 12 out of 156 samples tested positive for the agent.
In 2012, 16 samples taken from pigs were tested after local media reported that pigs were fed the banned substance. That was the first year the banned agent was detected in pork in the province, causing losses to many local breeding farms as people stopped consuming pork. The damages were estimated to be VND500 billion (US$22 million) due to a sharp drop in pork prices in markets across the country.
Speaking at the conference yesterday, head of the provincial Veterinary Department Tran Van Quang said the move to ask breeding households to make the commitment was one of the measures being taken to curb the use of lean meat substances in the province.
"We are continuously taking samples from farms for tests, and tracing back the use of the agent to units and individuals. They will face harsh penalties," he said.
Do Dinh Si, one of the 300 households that signed the commitment, said it was high time harsh penalties were applied on traders who purchased banned substances and asked farmers to feed them to their cattle.
He said the state should have long-term plans to protect farmers who followed the regulations, but were still affected.
Bui Thi Nhi, another farmer, said the sellers of the banned chemicals should also be strictly penalised.
In response to concerns over the lax penalties on violators in the past several years, head of the provincial Veterinary Department Quang said the department would propose that violators should face criminal proceedings over their actions to curb the spreading use of the chemicals. — VNS