By: Melody Mendoza Aguiba

The private sector has urged government to implement stricter biosecurity measures against the spread of Asian swine fever (ASF) on hogs but also assured consumers that humans cannot be infected by the disease.

The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food (PCAFI) urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) and local government units (LGU) to intensify implementation of protocol in disposing of dead hogs.  This as some of the dead hogs suspected of having been infected by ASF have been found floating in the Marikina River.  

“Offenders should be prosecuted as this is apparently a violation of certain memorandum act of DA regarding the disposal of dead hogs,” said PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto.  “Stricter implementation of biosecurity procedures should be observed.”

At the same time, Fausto said there should also be more information program declaring the scare against hog consumption since ASF does not adversely affect human health.

“People should not be afraid of ASF,” said Fausto.

Edwin Chen, president of PCAFI member Pork Producers Federation of the Phils (Propork), said hog raisers, particularly those from small backyards, should be advised to observe proper disposal of dead hogs.

“If the farm is in the backyard, the hogs (affected by the disease) should be culled first then buried immediately outside the farm at a depth (that may not be disturbed by other animals.) Depending on the number, it should be within a certain depth, maybe two meters if there are only a few.”

“In commercial farms or in a locality, DA people have a designated areas for burying these. The site should not be near a waterway or a creek.”

DA spokesman Noel Reyes said government will be prosecuting offenders on the handling of dead hogs based on the Animal Welfare Act and the Solid Waste Management Law.

There are several other ways of controlling spread of ASF, according to authorities. The Disease and Welfare guide of the advises the following:

· Prevention of feeding of contaminated feed and contaminated food waste used to supplement hog feed

· Control of the animals from the bites of soft bodied ticks, lies and flies

· Prevention of inoculation of the pigs with contaminated syringes and use of contaminated surgical equipment

· Prevention of introduction of infected pigs with uninfected ones. (Growth Publishing for PCAFI)