Thousands of pigs culled in Chinese foot-and-mouth outbreak

Chinese health officials ordered approximately 2,500 pigs to be culled over fears of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Forty-three pigs were initially infected and died from the illness at a large pig farm near Dalian City in Lianing Province, prompting slaughter of the farm's remaining pigs, as well as pigs in a nearby village, according to TheEpochTimes.com.

"The infected farm was actually the biggest pig farm in the village with thousands of pigs. Recently, hundreds of pigs were infected with the disease. Tens of pigs have died. Armed policemen were seen going back and forth to deal with the outbreak," a villager said, TheEpochTimes.com reports.

Chinese media reported the slaughter of the remaining animals was ordered to prevent the outbreak from spreading along the nearby Pipao expressway, which leads out of the province.

"It is quite normal for a livestock farm to have problems. As for how many pigs are infected, I do not know the details," the security chief and deputy secretary of Erdao village, where the pigs were culled, said, TheEpochTimes.com reports. He also confirmed the outbreak but refused to answer further questions.

China's National Foot-and-Mouth Disease Reference Laboratory confirmed the outbreak several days after it was first reported. It said the infections were caused by the type O strain, which is considered especially contagious.