Ducks culled as bird flu hits Cotabato town
KIDAPAWAN CITY — More than 4,000 ducks have been culled in Mlang, Cotabato, as the bird flu virus spread to six of the town’s 37 villages, threatening the fowls that live off the rice fields.
Mlang municipal agriculturist Arlene Encarnacion said the virus was first detected in the villages of Bialong and Lepaga, but as of Thursday, it had spread to New Antique, Dugong, Bagontapay and Buayan.
Encarnacion said blood samples of fowls from the four villages were found to be positive for the avian flu virus, prompting her to order the immediate culling of ducks in these areas to prevent the disease’s spread to nearby villages.
A total of 4,100 ducks had been culled after being found positive for the virus and these were buried at a dump in Barangay Tibao, Encarnacion said.
The agriculture office has accounted for at least 110 flocks of ducks in the town, in all comprising more than 100,000 birds.
Encarnacion said they were constrained by issues of origin as they pursued the depopulation of sick ducks. She said the local government from where the ducks come from should be the ones to compensate the owners.
A flock, typically numbering some 1,000 ducks, can cost up to P70,000.
Some of the flocks feeding in the town’s vast rice farms came from Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato provinces and were brought to Mlang by some raisers.
“If we culled all the [infected] flocks, we don’t have funds to pay for the affected duck raisers,” Encarnacion said.
To protect the town’s “resident” ducks, the agriculture office has fast-tracked the virus testing among all the flocks. Those that will be found to be infected and from outside the town would be herded to their places of origin, Encarnacion said.
S. Cotabato bans fowl transport as bird flu threat looms
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