Pampanga, Ecija towns resume chicken production
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Poultry farms in San Luis town, Pampanga province, and Jaen town, Nueva Ecija province, resumed production of chickens and quail eggs after tests by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) confirmed that these areas were finally free from bird flu since the Aug. 11 outbreak.
The BAI issued certificate of avian influenza clearances to San Luis on Dec. 29 last year and to Jaen on Jan. 7, Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, coordinator of the National Avian Influenza Task Force, said.
Farms at Barangay San Carlos in San Luis, ground zero of the outbreak, have started loading ready-to-lay chickens since last week, according to Dr. Augusto Baluyut, chief of the Pampanga veterinary office.
In the same village, 1,600 sentinel chicks were grown in four farms and checked for the presence of bird flu virus and its strain. Only 18 chicks died but not due to bird flu, Baluyut said.
Vytiaco said farms in Jaen continue to take care of the sentinel quails, which are expected to lay eggs at 37 days. She said sentinel growing is ongoing in San Isidro town while sentinel chicks will be introduced to Cabiao town on Jan. 30. Both towns are in Nueva Ecija.
Cabiao, which is near San Isidro, was the latest town to be hit by bird flu. Farm owners had their 42,000 chickens culled on Nov. 21.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol had announced a new set of protocols from the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries.
The new protocols limit the culling operations in affected farms. Other farms surrounding the area will only be subjected to random tests like what the BAI did in towns around San Luis in the first outbreak.
Quarantine zones and control areas surrounding the bird flu infestation site will also be removed.
The new guidelines, Piñol said, will not stop the movement of poultry stocks during an outbreak. —Tonette Orejas