Swine raisers told: Let vets do their job

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Swine raisers told: Let vets do their job
Agriculture Secretary William Dar called on raisers to report any illness or death to their respective municipal or city veterinarians, who will, in turn, coordinate with the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry to determine the cause.
Manan Vatsyayana / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is appealing to backyard swine raisers to report sick and dead pigs and let the experts do their jobs in their proper disposal.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar called on raisers to report any illness or death to their respective municipal or city veterinarians, who will, in turn, coordinate with the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry to determine the cause.

His appeal came after dozens of pigs were found floating along the Marikina River and a creek in Quezon City, amid the increase in cases of African swine fever (ASF).

“It was utterly irresponsible on the part of backyard raisers as they did not only violate current laws, but their misdoing also spread the disease pathogens much faster,” Dar said. “They violated the Animal Welfare Act, as they deprived their dead pigs of adequate care, maltreating them in the process.”

Violators could be imprisoned from six months to two years or fined P1,000 to P5,000.

“Also, the suspected backyard raisers violated the Solid Waste Management Act as they brazenly and irresponsibly dumped dead pigs in public places like waterways,” Dar added.

Violators of the Solid Waste Management Act can be punished with a fine of P300 to P1,000 or tasked to render community service from one day to 15 days.

Dar maintained that sick animals deserve proper care and adequate treatment. Should they die, there are strict protocols on how they should be disposed of.

“The DA through the BAI and the National Meat Inspection Service – in partnership with the private sector particularly with commercial hog raisers’ groups, local government units (LGUs), and military – has taken all the necessary measures to manage, control and contain the possible spread of ASF and major swine diseases,” Dar said.

“The irresponsible dumping of dead pigs simply adds scare to the public, and this should not be tolerated. The perpetrators must be punished in accordance with the law,” he added.

The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. has called on the DA and LGUs to ensure the strict implementation of protocol to dispose of dead pigs. Recently, the DA announced the result of the confirmatory polymerase chain reaction test on the swine blood samples collected from small backyard farms in Rizal.

It is still awaiting the results of the viral isolation test, which is seen to be more definitive in terms of identifying the nature of the virus detected.

The PCR test result from the World Reference Laboratory in Pirthbright in England, which is also the World Organization for Animal Health Reference Laboratory for ASF, confirmed that majority of the blood samples were ASF-positive.

According to the European Union Reference Laboratory for ASF, the PCR amplifies small fragments of viral DNA to detectable quantities, enabling rapid diagnosis of ASF. The PCR test result serves as basis for authorities to perform necessary measures.

Culled pigs

The Quezon City government has assured that it is taking all precautionary measures necessary to prevent the spread of ASF following the confirmation that some of those grown by backyard hog raisers tested positive for the disease. 

It also requested the police to set up checkpoints within a one-kilometer radius where some dead pigs were found.

Mayor Joy Belmonte confirmed over the weekend that 11 pigs in Barangay Bagong Silangan tested positive for ASF. 

Hogs within the infected zone and within the one-kilometer radius are to be automatically culled as part of the standard protocol to control a possible outbreak. 

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, almost 50 pigs were culled from Bagong Silangan’s backyard raisers.

Belmonte earlier ordered the gradual phaseout of piggeries within the city as it was an illegal practice, it being contrary to a zoning ordinance. The city government assured financial aid and livelihood assistance for affected piggery owners. 

The City Veterinary Office said it will also intensify its monitoring of major public markets and slaughterhouses to prevent the entry of ASF-infected meat and double-dead meat. 

“We assure residents that the local government is on top of the situation and doing everything it can to ensure that the pork being sold in our markets are safe for human consumption,” the city government said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro has given the DA information that could possibly point to the persons who dumped 56 dead pigs in the Marikina River last week.

“We are serious in filing cases against the culprit, whoever would be found in violation of clean water act and sanitation law. We would file a civil case for us to claim damages for the man-hours, equipment, manpower the city has consumed in clearing the Marikina River of the dead swine and in our effort to bury them…Both civilly liable and criminally accountable. It can be considered as illegal dumping of pollutant,” Teodoro, a lawyer, stressed.

He expects the DA-BAI to send a team to Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) in Rizal to investigate where the dead swine originated.

Noverlee Calub of the BAI promised to furnish the mayor the results of the investigation. – With Paolo Romero, Non Alquitran




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