The Marikina City government on Thursday said it would ask the Department of Agriculture to probe the incident where dead pigs were found floating in Marikina River.
As of 2 p.m., there were 16 dead pigs carried away by the current from the site along Bayabas Street in Barangay Nangka.
“There is no slaughterhouse or piggery in Marikina. The dead pigs could have been from the upstream of Rizal,” Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said.
Citing a report from the City Veterinary Office, Teodoro said one dead pig was found near the statue of “Marikit” at a.m., while another five dead pigs were found trapped in floating garbage at the river.
The other pigs are continuously being carried away by the current, with two of these retrieved near Kalumpang Chapel, and have already been buried.
On Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said 14 of the 20 blood samples from pigs sent to the United Kingdom for laboratory examination tested positive for the highly contagious African swine fever.
The tests were done after reports of the unusual number of pig deaths in backyard farms in the province of Rizal.
On Wednesday, three dead pigs were found in an area near a creek in Barangay Bagong Silangan in Quezon City.
Reports said the Quezon City Veterinary Office took tissue samples from the carcasses of the animals to be tested for ASF.
Last month, Dar has ordered the deployment of local government unit meat inspection services enforcement teams to closely monitor all public and private meat markets and outlets in view of the reported increase in swine mortalities in Bulacan and Rizal provinces.
Dar also directed all provincial/city/municipal veterinary officers to continue implementing precautionary measures to ensure food safety and food security.
Such measures include the prohibition of transporting of live animals, meat products, and meat by-products unless accompanied by veterinary health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and shipping permit issued by Bureau of Animal Industry and its regional veterinary quarantine offices; and the setting up of quarantine checkpoints in all ingress and egress from their respective provinces and municipalities.
They were also ordered to report to the BAI any unusual number of swine mortalities in their respective locality; and educate swine farmers to observe good animal husbandry practices and biosecurity measures such as putting foot baths, regular disinfection of farms, vaccination, and deworming.
“All animals brought to the slaughterhouse should be checked for fever and signs of diseased conditions. Diseased animals shall be condemned and properly disposed as per BAI procedures,” he said.
In related developments:
• Davao Region’s hog farmers have appealed for a concerted effort to protect the region’s livestock industry from the threats of African Swine Fever.
“We need the help of everybody to protect the industry,” said Eduardo So, president of the Southern Mindanao Agri Resources Trading Inc. during a media forum on Wednesday here.
So, who is also president of the Hog Farmers Association of Davao Region, called on relevant government agencies to make the inspection tighter, especially of meat products coming into the city and to other parts of Mindanao.
“We still do not see the urgency of work on the ground and we want that be done as soon as possible considering the fact that our island is free from the ASF and our meat is safe to eat,” he said.
Amid the African Swine Flu scare, Senator Cynthia Villar has been pushing for Sustainable Pig Farming among backyard and commercial raisers due to the many benefits it brought to hog-raisers.
“Since we started teaching farmers the SPF, many already benefited from low feed cost, good quality meat and a more environment-friendly know-how of raising pigs,” Villar said.
The chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food also noted that backyard hog-raising or pig farming is one of the alternative sources of additional income of many farmers because it requires only a small capital.
In partnership with the Agricultural Training Institute, the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance has been conducting a training course on SPF in its farm schools in Cavite and Bulacan that benefited raisers coming from the National Capital Region, Southern Luzon, Northern, and Central Luzon and the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
The 20-day training course teaches innovative information on raising pigs with emphasis on the challenges, issues and updates on pig farming and new techniques like fermenting fish and plants to be used as organic and natural feeds for pigs.
Villar said teaching hog raisers how to produce feeds for pigs will prevent swill feeding which causes animals to contract diseases.
The weekly sessions teach trainees the scientific and more sustainable approach to pig farming. The SPF follows the pattern of natural farming in which animal production would receive the least or no synthetic products in terms of feed and medication.
It covers discussions on Housing for Sustainable Swine Farming; Types of Feeding; Herbal Medicine; Health Management and Record Keeping; Swine Diseases; Sow Management; Post-Harvest Technology; Meat Processing; Marketing and Economics; Global Warming and Climate Change; Animal Welfare Act; and Swine Industry Situationer and Trends.
So said the media reports about ASF in recent weeks have led to a noticeable decrease in sales of pork products, prompting the industry to wage an information campaign to dispel the rumors.
He said the information and education campaign seeks to raise public awareness on ASF, as well as to teach backyard growers on the proper way of growing hogs.
While they don’t want to “scare the public,” he said it was their duty to protect the industry and educate the consumers because “once it [ASF] hits the island, it will be devastating with 70 percent mortality rate.”
In one farm alone, So said the losses in terms of sales would be about 400 pigs monthly.
So said the association’s current inventory numbers about 200,000 heads covering 17 commercial growers, and does not include the figure from the backyard growers.
Of their total production, 40 percent goes outside of Mindanao, mostly in the Visayas “because live hogs are no longer allowed in Manila, except by cuts. The other 60 percent goes to the different markets on the island.”
“We hope everybody would help us advocate our message. Help us save the hog industry in Mindanao by preventing infected meat to come into the island,” he said.
He also said that they have asked legislative bodies of different key cities in Mindanao to come up with local initiatives to prevent ASF, especially on the monitoring aspect.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11) assured that they have strengthened their security measures on the seaports and airports, which can be a possible entry of contaminated meat products.
Dr. Armie Capuyan, DA-11 ASF focal person, said in a separate press briefing on Wednesday that the agency is in constant coordination with various local government units and private sectors to intensify their security measures.
“We have coordinated with them as well as the veterinary quarantine services in seaports and airports to strictly apply security measures.
Apart from that, we have intensified the conduct of disease and surveillance monitoring for Region 11,” Capuyan said.
“We also conducted an intensive education communication campaign to the public especially on the swine raisers both for commercial and backyard,” she added.
However, Capuyan made it clear that there is no reported ASF related case in Davao Region and assured Dabawenyos that the city is safe from ASF. With PNA