July 19, 2024

The Benguet provincial veterinarian has called on hog raisers in the province to employ necessary precautions against the African swine fever as new cases were reported in La Trinidad and Itogon. 

Provincial Veterinarian Miriam Tiongan said nine barangays were affected, namely Bahong, Wangal, Lubas, Pico, Puguis, and Bineng in La Trinidad; and Tuding, Ucab, and Gumatdang in Itogon.

The areas were already disinfected.

Tiongan said the first cases were in Bahong, Wangal, and Tuding where hog raisers observed illness and sudden deaths of their pigs in the last week of April.

The swine raisers reported the incident in the first week of May to the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian. Rapid tests conducted on pigs showed the hogs were positive of the ASF.  

“The pace of infection is quite fast these days than before the lockdowns. Prevention really is better than cure,” Tiongan said.

The Department of Agriculture advised that the “test and contain” strategy should be implemented instead of culling pigs in affected areas.

Tiongan said the ASF cases might still be due to the continued swill feeding or feeding of leftovers, unchecked vehicles ferrying contaminated pork and pork products, and unregulated mini-markets or tiangge that sell contaminated pork.

She said proper meat handling and sanitation practices in swine farms must be observed at all times.  

She said the office has given disinfectants to affected hog raisers and those who were not affected as a precaution against the virus.

La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda has issued an executive order prohibiting the transfer, sale, and bringing out of pig and pork from identified ASF-affected barangays.

“However, pork could still be consumed (as long as the meat is) thoroughly cooked. Moreover, pork may still be purchased from registered slaughterhouses in barangays Lubas and Bahong since regular inspection is conducted there,” the EO stated.

Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas said the provincial government is preparing for the provision of financial assistance to affected swine raisers. – Ofelia C. Empian