ASF continues to spread in 33 towns

16,000 HOGS CULLED

THE Office of the Provincial Veterinarian is just about to throw in the towel as the African Swine Fever (ASF) still continues to spread in Pangasinan, already affecting 33 of 47 towns and cities.

This frustration was expressed by Acting Provincial Veterinarian Jovito Tabarejos when he spoke during the Question Hour of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on September 7.

“We did our best but our best is not good enough,” he said and blamed the spread of the ASF mainly to the late reporting of incidence to municipal veterinary offices as well as the
penchant of hog owners to slaughter their sick hogs and sell their meat to buyers outside their town.

In a bid to contain the spread, Tabarejos and Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil, president of the League of Pangasinan Mayors, asked the SP to impose a total ban on slaughtering of hogs other than in accredited slaughterhouses.

Bataoil also called on the SP to pass an ordinance requiring all towns and cities under its jurisdiction to build their own slaughterhouses to be accredited by the National Meat and Inspection Service, citing the cause of the spread of ASF in his town. He said Lingayen suffered when a resident bought meat butchered in a house in an adjacent town.

Meanwhile, Tabarejos said the 33 towns affected by ASF are just places where blood samples of hogs were taken and analyzed in a laboratory and hinted that there could be more as some hog raisers slaughtered their hogs before they can be extracted with blood samples for laboratory analysis.

There were some 16,000 hogs that were culled in all the affected areas to date, he reported.

Tabarejos told the SP that ASF first broke out in central Pangasinan late last year before it spread to western Pangasinan and has reached eastern Pangasinan today.

Board Member and Liga ng Barangay Provincial Federation president Jose Peralta Jr, confirmed that eight of the 10 towns of the Sixth District are already affected by ASF.

Tabarejos said only San Jacinto was spared by ASF in the Fourth District.

He said the only bright note is that ASF appears to be contained in the Second and Third Districts where the ASF first hit, are no longer registering recurrence of ASF and are beginning to raise hogs in backyards.

Admitting that there is a pork shortage in Pangasinan, Tabarejos said Pangasinan is accepting meat and live hogs from traders in other provinces who can present veterinary health certificates and shipping permits.

He said there are 11 veterinary checkpoints in all entry points to Pangasinan still on alert 24/7. (Leonardo Micua)

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