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Headline Of The Week: Toy Pigs Used in Bizarre Swine Fever Protocol

By Sarah Moran 7 December 2018
Another day, another series of nauseating news. We get it, it’s difficult to keep up with all the information out there. Sometimes you watch the news and it feels like the world is spiralling out of control (kind of like a bad hangover) and you end up walking away from the TV with a banging headache. In the spirit of public enlightenment, we bring you our weekly fun news column, where we give you the craziest international, national, or local headline from the past week — that you have likely overlooked.

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For the past few months, a deadly outbreak of African swine fever has been ravaging Mainland China's pig population. Although the virus – which does not threaten humans – hasn't spread to Hong Kong yet, the Government is taking some serious precautions. Spotted at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s Ta Kwu Ling Operation Centre in the northern New Territories on Tuesday December 4, was Secretary for the Food and Health Bureau, Sophia Chan, along with her fellow colleagues ... and a litter of fluffy pink toy pigs! Ms Chan reported on her official Facebook page that Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau is closely monitoring the situation, and has been taking precautionary measures such as improving the standard of hygiene and cleanliness at import locations, transportations, and slaughterhouses, as well as stopping the feeding of animal-made food at local farms. One of the Bureau's more drastic precautionary measures, however, is to put down the pigs one by one and send them off to quarantine in a metal container, which brings us to the stuffed toys. It appears that these fake pigs were actually brought in for a "practice run" in the event of a local African swine fever epidemic. Using the adorable toys to stand in for real pigs, members of staff began practising the department's standard prevention procedures to the amusement of local netizens.

As silly as this may look, it does give us some sort of solace that the Government is actively trying to take precautions – no matter how ridiculous the idea may seem. Plus, if it means this will keep our pig population safe, then we're all for it! For more information about the African Swine Fever, head to the Food and Health Bureau's official website for all the latest news and updates.
Read More! Learn some Cantonese Slang, or explore the rest of our Culture section.

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Sarah Moran

Staff writer

Born and raised in Hong Kong to expat parents, Sarah grew up as your typical third-culture kid, caught between two worlds. As someone who is nosy (or just curious) and loves the written word, there was never any other career that appealed to her as much as journalism. When she’s not busy on her mission to find the line between not enough coffee and too much coffee, you can find her exploring the city or getting stuck in a good book.