Gwen orders temporary stoppage of culling of pigs in ASF-hit Carcar
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia orders to temporarily stop all culling activities in Carcar City where the first cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) have been detected.
Garcia held a meeting with the province’s mayors on Monday, March 13 to discuss measures in containing the ASF in Carcar City, and to prevent it from further spreading to neighboring localities.
In a press briefer, the governor announced that the Capitol decided it will implement its own policies and protocols in managing the disease.
These included putting culling to a halt, in the meantime.
According to Garcia, local officials in Carcar City raised concerns that culling, which involved slaughtering livestock as a measure of curbing the spread of the disease, had adversely impacted the livelihoods of small-scale swine farms.
She added that most, if not all, of the slaughtered pigs did not show any symptoms of ASF, which had an incubation period ranging between five to seven days.
“At this time, we will come up with our own policies… What we’re trying to avoid here is not to harm to the humans but harm to the hog industry, harm to the farms,” Garcia said.
While not posing a risk to human health, ASF has a high mortality rate in both wild and domesticated pigs.
Since the detection of the first case of ASF in the Philippines in 2019, the national government has implemented culling of all livestock, whether healthy or not, within a one-kilometer radius of the infected farm to contain the disease.
However, the governor disagreed that such a measure applies to Carcar City’s case. In fact, Garcia expressed doubts about how the laboratory tests that confirmed the presence of the ASF virus in the city were being conducted.
“We are not seeing deaths in quantities… Right now, I’m seriously suspecting whether or not Carcar City should be a red zone,” she said.
Garcia pointed out that ‘testing samples of slaughtered pigs instead of live hogs for ASF did not make any sense’. As a result, she urged authorities to focus their surveillance efforts on swine farms, and not slaughterhouses.
As of March 11, a total of 141 live hogs had been culled in Carcar City following the detection of ASF there.
It can be recalled that Cebu lost its status as an ASF-free province when authorities confirmed on March 1 that they found the ASF virus in samples of slaughtered pigs in Carcar City.
The provincial government, however, clarified they would keep strict border controls in Carcar City. This meant that exporting live hogs would still be prohibited.
Carcar City is a fifth-class component city located approximately 40 kilometers southeast of Cebu City.
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