November 30, 2023

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

The 30 pigs to be butchered during the grand cañao for the 123rd foundation day celebration of Benguet on Nov. 23 at the Benguet Sports Complex in Wangal, La Trinidad is free from African swine fever (ASF) virus.

Provincial Veterinarian Purita Lesing said the pigs will come from the provincial-owned animal learning site in San Pascual, Tuba and were purposely grown for the upcoming festivities.

Lesing said the OpVet is practicing maximum biosecurity in its farm to prevent animal diseases, especially with the threat of ASF still in the province and the country. 

Biosecurity refers to measures taken to stop the spread or introduction of harmful organisms to human, animal, and plant life.

“We have assured the safety of the pigs since we know that the Adivay is like a wedding that it will not push through without the butchering of pigs,” Lesing said.

The latest active cases of ASF were recorded in Itogon and Tuba.

The demo farm in Poblacion, Itogon was hit with ASF where the OpVet has culled 26 heads of fatteners.

In Tuba, the office has strengthened the monitoring at the stretch of Kennon Road, particularly in Camps 1 and 3.

The OpVet has traced the ASF virus might have come from animal shippers who have delivered piglets at the various hog raisers in the towns.   

The towns of Kibungan and Kapangan remain ASF-free.

The OpVet continues to remind hog raisers to strengthen biosecurity in their farms, such as placing a fence in their farms, putting disinfectant foot bath at the entrance of the farm, non-entry of fresh pork meat inside the farm, and proper documentation of acquired new stocks of piglets which should be inspected at the provincial animal quarantine station.

Hog raisers are also reminded not to feed their pigs with swill or food scraps, which is one of the ways the virus is transmitted.  They should also be wary of who is going in and out of their farms, as they might be hosts for the ASF virus.

At present, hogs found to be positive with ASF will only be the ones culled and not all pigs within the one-kilometer radius.

The depopulation of all pigs within the one-kilometer radius was the earlier practice during the height of the spread of the ASF. 

Gov. Melchor Dic-las said the 30 pigs and two carabaos will be provided by the province while the 13 municipalities shall also give their own counterpart pigs for the celebration, which has always been an annual tradition.