Stricter protocols on ASF needed

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    The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) and local government units to strictly implement the protocol in disposing dead hogs affected with African swine fever (ASF) as some were found floating in Marikina River.

    “Offenders should be prosecuted as this is apparently a violation of certain memorandum act of DA regarding the disposal of dead hogs. Stricter implementation of biosecurity procedures should be observed,” Danilo Fausto, PCAFI president, said in a statement.

    Fausto also noted the need for more information programs addressing the scare on hog consumption since ASF does not adversely affect human health.

    Edwin Chen, president of Pork Producers Federation of the Phils. (ProPork), said hog raisers, particularly those from small backyards, should be advised to observe proper disposal of dead hogs.

    “If the farm is in the backyard, the hogs (affected by the disease) should be culled first then buried immediately outside the farm at a depth (that may not be disturbed by other animals). Depending on the number, it should be within a certain depth, maybe two meters if there are only a few,” Chen said.

    “In commercial farms or in a locality, DA people have designated areas for burying these. The site should not be near a waterway or a creek,” he added.

    William Dar, DA secretary, appealed to backyard swine raisers to report sick and dead pigs to their respective municipal or city veterinarians, who will in turn coordinate with the Bureau of Animal Industry to determine the cause of sickness or death.

    “It was utterly irresponsible on the part of the backyard raisers as they did not only violate current laws, but their misdoing also spread the disease pathogens much faster. They violated RA 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act, as they deprived their dead pigs of adequate care, maltreating them in the process,” Dar said.

    According to the DA, violators are punishable by imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than two years, or a fine of not less than P1,000 nor more than P5,000.

    Dar said suspected backyard raisers also violated RA 9003, or the Solid Waste Management Act, and can be punished with a fine of not less than P300 but not more than P1,000 or render community service for not less than one day to not more than 15 days.

    “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 said.