China's agriculture ministry says criminal gangs are faking outbreaks of swine fever on farms and forcing owners to sell healthy pigs at sharply lower prices.
China's agriculture ministry says criminal gangs are faking outbreaks of swine fever on farms and forcing owners to sell healthy pigs at sharply lower prices.

China pig farmers foil swine fever crooks

A leading Chinese animal feed producer says it employed a radio transmitter to combat crooks using drones to drop pork products contaminated with African swine fever on its pig farms as part of a health scare racket.

According to state-backed news website The Paper, the pig farming unit of Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group ran foul of authorities because its transmitter disrupted GPS signals in the area.

Answering investor questions on an interactive platform run by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Friday, Dabeinong confirmed its pig farm in Heilongjiang province had unwittingly violated civil aviation rules.

"Our unit ... to prevent external people from using drones to drop pork with African swine fever virus, violated regulations by using a drone control equipment set," the company said.

"We broke related radio regulations, although that was unintentional," said Dabeinong, adding it had surrendered the equipment to authorities and was willing to accept a penalty.

China's agriculture ministry said in July criminal gangs were faking outbreaks of swine fever on farms and forcing farmers to sell healthy pigs at sharply lower prices.

Dabeinong has 14,000 sows at its three farms and one breeding farm in Heilongjiang.

The properties were operating safely and security would be stepped up, it said.

China, the world's top producer and consumer of pork, has seen its pig herd shrink by 40 per cent compared with a year ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said this week.

Rising pork prices is a factor behind Chinese inflation's acceleration to its fastest pace in almost eight years.