TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A department under the Council of Agriculture (COA) has asked prosecutors to investigate the Kuomintang (KMT) for posting a video about the treatment of pigs with ractopamine as an example of “fake news,” reports said Wednesday (Nov. 11).
Taiwan’s government announced last August that it was planning to allow the import of pork with residues of the leanness drug beginning Jan. 1. The decision was seen as a major step to drafting a trade agreement with the United States, which had been insistent on ending the ban.
However, the main opposition party has launched a campaign for a referendum on the issue, claiming the opening up of Taiwan’s market will create a public health problem while decimating the local hog farming sector.
As part of its campaign, the KMT posted a video on its Facebook page claiming pigs treated with ractopamine suffered from shaking and from breathing difficulties. Feeding the animals with the drug amounted to a form of abuse, the video claimed.
COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) condemned the recording as “fake news,” and on Wednesday the COA’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said it had asked the authorities to investigate the poster of the video, in effect the KMT, on suspicion of violating the Social Order Maintenance Act, CNA reported.
Anyone found guilty of spreading false rumors could be sentenced to a detention term of up to three days or a fine of up to NT$30,000 (US$1,050), BAPHIQ officials added.
The video was recorded by the U.S. animal rights group Animal Outlook as a protest against the abuse of hogs at slaughterhouses, but nowhere in the original commentary was there any mention of ractopamine, BAPHIQ said.