Animal protection group warns: improper culling may further spread ASF

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2019   •   230

MANILA, Philippines – An animal protection group is calling on the government to strictly impose international guidelines on culling virus-infected animals amid the ongoing outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The World Animal Protection (WAP) condemned the improper way of culling ASF-infected pigs, particularly in Barangay Cupang in Antipolo City last August wherein the people who facilitated the culling were not wearing any protective gear as shown in the video.

In some instances, the pigs were even buried alive.

WAP said such practice might facilitate further spread of the virus.

“Kung mayroong fluids na lumalabas doon sa baboy or dugo (If there are fluids from the pig’s body or blood) any vehicle that will run over the fluids or the mud, will be a vector for transmission,” WAP Global farming director, Mark Dia said.

The group argued that the government must be transparent when it comes to information regarding the outbreak that the public needs to know.

“Kasi kung hindi sigurado ang mga tao (If the people doing it are not sure of what they’re doing) they might have been trying to sell the meat, process the meat, transport the meat, hide the pigs, throw away the pigs, while all of that is happening there is active transmission,” Dia added.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) announced on September 19 that it was indeed ASF that infected the pigs in Rizal and Bulacan after the agency received the confirmatory tests from a laboratory in Europe.

“(Sometimes) when there is no information, panic actually is the natural reaction,” Dia explained.

“Hindi lang tao, pati gamit, pati kutsilyo, mga ginamit pati yung syringes kung ginamit pati yung mga sasakyan kung merong dugo, merong fluids doon sa lupa at merong putik na dinaanan (Not just through human contact but through objects like knives, syringes, even vehicle wheels that run through infected blood or other fluids on the ground),” the animal protection advocate said.

The group noted that it took countries with an earlier recorded infection like Lithuania and Belgium 20 to 25 years before they finally eliminated the African Swine Fever virus into their pig livestock.

According to WAP, the government should strictly impose appropriate disinfecting procedures to fully eradicate the virus.

“There should be at least 30 minutes contact with the disinfectant para mamatay ang (for the virus to die),” Dia noted.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte reported early on Monday (September 23) that the culling operations in Barangay Payatas already brought down 400 ASF-infected pigs, aside from about 300 previously culled in Barangay Bagong Silangan. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Nueva Ecija culls 207 pigs over suspected hog virus

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines – The Cabanatuan City Provincial Veterinary Office culled a total of 207 pigs following reports of hog deaths in Barangay Dalampang, suspected to have been caused by African Swine Fever (ASF).

“Nangangamatay iyong aming baboy ngayon. Kinuhanan nila ng blood sample at iyong iba namang mga baboy na nangamatay ay ipinalibing namin (Several pigs have died in our place. Blood samples were taken from some of them, while we buried the others),” said Amang Soriano, the head of Barangay Dalampang.

Because of the incident, the PVO advised residents, especially hog raisers in the area, to immediately report cases of pig deaths so that prompt measures can be taken.

The PVO added that they are being extra cautious because it is the season for increased incidence of vector-borne diseases among livestock.

“Maaraw eh, expect mo na sa stress, marami mamamatay ( It’s been warm lately so expect that stress level would be higher which might result in more deaths),” explained Dr. Jun Romero, head of Nueva Ecija Provincial Veterinary Office.

“Marami kaming kinunan na sample. Akala namin ay suspected na (African Swine Fever). Nag-negative naman sa laboratory (We took samples from several pigs because we suspected it was African Swine Fever. Laboratory tests turned negative),” he added.

The provincial veterinary office is waiting for the result of the laboratory tests conducted on the pig blood samples.

If the result turns out positive for ASF, Romero assured they will impose the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the deadly pig virus.

Hog raisers assured, likewise, that they will abide by the protocol should the tests return positive.

“Kami po talagang sumusunod doon sa patakaran ng ating gobyerno na kung saka-sakaling may mga sakit na gumagala sa aming barangay (We really abide by the government regulations, more so if pig virus is present in our barangay,)” noted hog raisers Miguel Ramos. MNP (with details from Danny Munar)

DILG to ask LGUs to lift entry ban on pork products from Luzon

Marje Pelayo   •   October 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to issue a memorandum circular to encourage local government units (LGUs) to lift their respective bans on entry of pork products coming from Luzon.

The LGUs imposed their own measures to prohibit the entry of pork products in their area in protection against the further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, the DA requested them to allow meat processors to transport their products provided that their products are properly documented, properly processed, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Incorporated (PAMPI) argued that so far, 56 provinces have existing import ban on pork and pork items from the Luzon region.

The group added that the meat processing industry would suffer P55-B loss in profit every year should the local governments not heed lifting the import ban.

PAMPI assured that its products are safe for public consumption, therefore, they are confident that they will not cause the spread of the ASF virus. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DA increases indemnity payment for pigs culled due to ASF to P5,000

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2019

Culled pigs are hauled toward a collection truck after symptoms of African Swine Fever (ASF) were detected in the Pasong Tamo village of Quezon City, Philippines, 03 October 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Hog raisers affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) will now get P5,000 for each pig culled within the one-kilometer radius from ground zero where the deadly pig virus was detected.

So far, the Department of Agriculture (DA) already recorded more than 40,000 pigs culled due to ASF.

The DA is now strengthening its quarantine checkpoints in different parts of the country to stop the spread of the ASF virus.

On Friday (October 11), around 700 crates of pig products were seized in San Juanico Bridge in Tacloban City from Bulacan amounting to P1.6 million.

According to the Tacloban Veterinary Office, the products were confiscated for lack of necessary documents.

In his social media post, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Secretary Manny Piñol questioned why such shipment was able to pass the quarantine checkpoints in Matnog in Sorsogon and in Northern Samar.

The DA, meanwhile, said it is conducting an investigation on the matter.

“That is something that we have to find-out kung bakit nakalusot ito (why it passed slip the quarantine checkpoints),” said DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan.

Meat processors, on the other hand, fear of possible loss in income of up to P55 billion if the government will not impose a more concrete system in banning the transportation of pork products.

According to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI), their products undergo proper food treatment to eliminate the ASF virus.

“Processed meats are not carriers of ASF,” explained PAMPI Spokesperson Rex Agarrado.

“Processed meats are all processed at temperatures that kill the organism,” he added. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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