Apai Suttisunk, former director-general of the Livestock Development Department, meets with animal rights activists at his office in Bangkok in March to discuss the spread of rabies. (Photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)

The cabinet on Tuesday transferred the director-general of the Livestock Development Department to the post of inspector-general pending a probe into substandard rabies vaccine.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Grisada Boonrach said after the meeting that the cabinet approved his proposal to make Apai Suttisunk an inspector-general of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to pave the way for an investigation into the quality of rabies vaccine.

Agriculture inspector-general Sorawit Thaneeto was appointed the new director-general of the Livestock Development Department, swapping positions with Mr Apai.

Mr Grisada said that an initial probe found that five senior departmental officials accepted the procurement of rabies vaccine worth 15 million baht in 2016 despite the fact that the vaccine lot was not certified by the Food and Drug Administration. Officials found that 1 million doses of the vaccine were substandard and the FDA recalled them.

Earlier reports said family members of officials had sold fake rabies vaccine to the department for decades.

The scandal is a setback for the department, which has come under fire for its handling of rabies vaccinations for stray dogs and cats after the spread of the virus in 24 provinces.

News Reporter

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