Agriculture Minister Sun Zhengcai said on Tuesday some regions in the country were at high risk of serious animal epidemics in spring due to frequent deliveries of livestock during the Spring Festival and activities of migratory birds.
Sun did not specify which regions were exposed to such risks.
He said local departments had kept animal epidemics such as bird flu and blue ear pig disease under control, but disease prevention measures in some areas were not in place.
He urged local authorities to step up vaccinations against animal diseases in order to guarantee a sufficient supply during the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year holidays which fall in early February.
He said all the seasonal vaccinations should be finished by the end of May and the ministry would organize an examination on their effectiveness in early June.
The minister also called for strengthened supervision of vaccine production and delivery. He ordered departments to establish emergency plans for the Spring Festival and the Olympics.
A stock farm in Jiangling county, Hubei, purchased a batch of vaccines for blue ear pig disease in June last year through an illegal channel from Beijing, which resulted in an outbreak of the epidemic, causing losses of almost one million yuan (US$133,690).
Investigation showed the vaccines were fake products without a production licence and the company did not exist.
Beijing police arrested key suspects in September, and broke up three workshops that made the fake vaccine, seizing a large amount of products, equipment and raw materials.
Pork production fell dramatically last summer on breeders' dampened enthusiasm due to rising feed costs and a massive pig cull after the outbreak of blue ear disease in some regions.
Rising food prices, especially pork, China's staple meat, pushed the inflation rate to an 11-year high of 6.9 percent last November.
Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a contagious disease of animal origin caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs. The number of confirmed human
(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2008)