Pampanga poultry farms silent as culling ends | Inquirer News

Pampanga poultry farms silent as culling ends

ASSURANCE Stores in the Pampanga capital of San Fernando display this sticker to assure consumers that their stocks of dressed chicken are safe for consumption amid the bird flu outbreak in San Luis town. —TONETTE T. OREJAS

Residents of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija provinces who live near quarantined communities exposed to the avian influenza virus will have to get used to waking up without roosters’ crowing, the normal cackling of hens or the chirping of quails.

The government has officially ended the culling of infected chickens, ducks and quails as well as all types of domesticated birds at San Luis town in Pampanga, where the avian flu outbreak was first detected, according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).


“We can officially say now that the culling work is over in seven commercial farms [in San Luis],” Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, coordinator of the BAI avian influenza control program, told the Inquirer by telephone on Monday.


In Nueva Ecija, government veterinarians, helped by 50 soldiers and volunteers, began gassing birds in two villages in San Isidro and Jaen towns on Saturday but they were hampered by strong rains.

Culling resumed on Sunday but officials did not say how many birds had been destroyed to prevent the bird flu from spreading.

It will take 90 days before the government can determine that Barangay San Roque in San Isidro and Barangay Imbunia in Jaen are already free of the bird flu virus, according to Roy Abaya, Central Luzon director of the Department of Agriculture.

In Pampanga, the seven farms are all located in Barangay San Carlos, ground zero of the outbreak which was placed under a 1-kilometer quarantine zone.

BAI said 199,382 birds were killed in the quarantine zone while 113,105 birds were culled at a 7-km control zone that encircles the quarantine area.

BAI took 10 days to complete the destruction of birds infected or exposed to an H5 strain of avian flu. The agency was aided by personnel from the Pampanga government and more than 100 Army soldiers.


On Monday, San Luis Mayor Venancio Macapagal and the volunteer soldiers went house-to-house to seize and destroy the remaining chickens, ducks and quails grown in backyards in Barangay San Carlos.

About 40 balut (duck eggs) producers in Candaba town in Pampanga and Sta. Maria town in Bulacan province are asking Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to lift the ban on the transport of duck eggs from Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao.

The ban was enforced through a memorandum issued on Aug. 14 by BAI chief, Enrico Garzon, although it allowed Luzon-to-Luzon trading.

The producers said ducks raised in Candaba and Sta. Maria were not sick with bird flu. They also said the two towns were outside of the 7-km quarantine zone.

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In Nueva Ecija, more than 200,000 egg-laying quails raised in Imbunia and more than 70,000 chickens in Barangay San Roque have been targeted for destruction.

TAGS: avian flu, Bird flu

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