AS pork prices have risen in Thailand recently with authorities this week confirming one case of African swine fever at a slaughterhouse in Nakhon Pathom province, some residents here have turned to eating crocodile meat instead as the price is attractively lower, Amarin TV said today (Jan. 13).
Mrs. Uthaipornrung Thaweechai, 64, the owner of the large Rung Thaweechai Farm in Don Tum district where 12,000 crocs of all sizes are being raised with the biggest measuring over five metres, said those that are slaughtered must be three and half years old, weigh about 30-40 kilogrammes and at least 185 centimetres long.
They are stunned with electric shock first before being slaughtered and each one will yield 12 kilogrammes of meat, sold for 250 baht a kg, but a discount is offered for big orders. Very popular is the meat from the croc’s tail.
All parts of a crocodile are sold with the reptile’s blood, each yielding about 300-400 CC, being turned into capsules and a bottle of 100 capsules sold for 1,500 baht while a smaller bottle with 30 capsules 500 baht.
Crocodile paws can be stewed into a tonic and each is sold at 300 baht. The skin is used to make bags, purses, shoes, belts, watch straps, hats among other products.
The authorities said on Tuesday African swine fever had been detected in a surface swab sample collected at a slaughterhouse in Nakhon Pathom, marking the country’s first official confirmation of the disease, Reuters said.
Authorities launched a probe at the weekend, after growing speculation in recent weeks that the disease was already decimating Thai pig herds and amid accusations of a cover up.
One sample had tested positive for African swine fever out of 309 collected, including blood samples from pigs at 10 farms and surface swabs at two slaughterhouses in swine-raising provinces, said Sorravis Thaneto, director-general of the Department of Livestock Development.
“We found one sample that tested positive for African swine fever,” Sorravis told a news conference on Tuesday, where he vowed to trace the source of the disease.
The confirmation came after Thai authorities had for years denied a local outbreak of the fatal disease that has swept through Europe and Asia in recent years and killed hundreds of millions of pigs.
It also came days after Kasetsart University said its laboratory had last month found the disease in a dead pet pig, the first such report in Thailand.
Authorities will declare a disease outbreak zone within a five km (3 mile) radius of where the sample was found, limit pig movements, consider culling animals suspected of being infected, and pay compensations to affected farms, Sorravis said.
Grilled crocodile meat being sold at Ratchaburi province. Photo: Matichon