Lonely Afghan pig seeks similar

 

Just when the lot of Afghanistan’s only known pig couldn’t get any worse, it did.

The beast has been put under house arrest and quarantined in Kabul Zoo amid fears over the global spread of swine flu. Pig products are illegal for religious reasons in Afghanistan.

The infection has spread to 2,000 people around the world, after it was first detected in Mexico. As governments around the world put measures in place to combat the infection, the zoo's director Aziz Gul Saqib, said the pig, Khanzir, had been locked up.

"The only reason we moved him was because Afghan people don't have a lot of knowledge about swine flu, and so when they see a pig they get worried and think they will get ill,” Mr Saqib told the BBC World Service.

The animal should count itself lucky, however. In the days after the infection hit international headlines last month Egypt ordered the slaughter of its entire pig herd of 300,000 to 400,000 animals, despite contrary advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It is expected that Khanzir, the survivor of one of two pigs given to Kabul Zoo by China in 2002, will stay in his new quarters for only a few days, the BBC quoted Mr Saqib as saying.

Mr Saqib said the zoo hoped to get a female companion for Afghanistan’s only pig but warned: "It is a dangerous and difficult time to get a new pig for our pig."