ASF casualty now 20,000 pigs
The number of pigs put to death, or culled, in the past week has reached 20,000 as the African swine fever (ASF) scare continued to spread.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Monday, Sept. 30, said most of the new batch of culled pigs were from Bulacan province and others were from the provinces of Pampanga and Pangasinan.
Dar told reporters that the protocol in controlling the spread of ASF, which is not harmful to humans but has no cure and deadly to pigs, was to cull all pigs within a kilometer-radius of the site of infection.
He said of the number of pigs put to death, a third was infected but the rest were culled as a precautionary measure.
Areas with cases of ASF in Bulacan and Pampanga are being cordoned off, said Dar. Cooperation among Department of Agriculture agencies, hog raisers and local governments is key, he said.
According to protocol, hog raisers within a 10-km radius of confirmed ASF cases must report signs of sickness among their pigs. Movement of pigs is limited to a 7-km radius.
Dar said a truck carrying 30 pigs from Bulacan was apprehended in Pangasinan as the trader who owned the cargo could not provide local authorities permits to transport the pigs.
The local government held the truck and tested the pigs for ASF. “Results showed that half of the pigs was positive for ASF,” said Dar.
Protocol was immediately put in place. All pigs in the truck were put to death and 1,000 other pigs within a kilometer radius.
Dar said the movement of infected pigs was responsible for the spread of the ASF virus from Rodriguez town in Rizal province —where the ASF outbreak started — to Guiguinto town in Bulacan province.
The virus spread to other parts of Bulacan as well.
Last week, Dar said the DA would spend an initial P22.25 million to help hog raisers who lost pigs to ASF.
He said the capital was meant to “tide them over” and be used to “engage in any appropriate livelihood ventures like broiler, layer and goat-raising and vegetable production.”
Raisers will receive P3,000 per pig lost to ASF.
He said the government has enough money to support the raisers, but not to pay for the actual value of the pigs.
“We have to understand that paying each raiser the actual cost of culled pigs would mean benefiting only a few hundred raisers and leaving out others,” Dar said.
Interest and collateral-free loans, worth P30,000 each through the Agriculture Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) of the DA, would be made available.
ACPC, he said, was allotting an initial P60 million for 2,000 backyard raisers in Rizal, Bulacan and Quezon City./TSB
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