Cartoonists at Tuoi Tre Cuoi, the caricature magazine of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, have revealed their thoughts about the recent food scare whereby pigs at a major slaughterhouse in Ho Chi Minh City were found to have been injected with sedative immediately prior to being butchered.
Xuyen A slaughterhouse in the district of Cu Chi on the city’s outskirts was raided by a team of police officers and inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in late September.
At the time of the inspection, six empty bottles of Combistress, a tranquillizer, was found together with 51 500-milliliter infusion bottles containing water that had been mixed with the sedative.
A number of wholesalers were also caught in the act of injecting pigs with the sedative solution before they were slaughtered.
In total, the authorities demanded a stop to the slaughter of around 10,300 pigs that showed signs of sedation.
Xuyen A is the largest slaughterhouse in Ho Chi Minh City, capable of slaughtering over 5,000 pigs per day that supply local markets and supermarkets.
Pigs at Xuyen A are sourced from the southern provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Thuan, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Long An, Tien Giang and Ben Tre.
It is legal to use sedatives that keep aggressive animals calm during transportation, but not immediately prior to their slaughter, according to Dr. Le Thanh Hien, dean of the infectious diseases and animal health faculty at Nong Lam University.
“Once administered, it takes the drugs five to seven days to be completely excreted from the animals,” Hien explained. Pigs that are sedated at slaughterhouses are typically killed only hours later.
“With such a short time between sedation and slaughter, these pigs had no chance to excrete potentially harmful chemical compounds.”