Checkpoints up against hog virus

LEGAZPI CITY --- Checkpoints would be set up in entry and exit areas across the city as a contingency measure against the entry of live animals, meat products to prevent the spread of infected with the African Swine Fever (AFS) virus, the Legazpi City Veterinary Office (CVO) said on Monday.

Dr. Emmanuel Estipona, CVO chief, said the measure would be carried out following Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s announcement that the pigs’ meat that was subject to a laboratory test abroad was found positive to be infected with the African swine fever.

He said as a countermeasure they have dispatched personnel to assist police checkpoints in six strategic boundary areas where cargo trucks loaded with contaminated live animals and meat products from other provinces could enter the city.

Estipona said the precautionary measure is aimed to ensure the safety of animals being raised as well as to sustain the demand for food security here.

Estipona in a phone interview said although there have been no reports yet of animals being infected with the disease in this city, “we are not keeping our guards down as we would be strict in preventing the entry of animals and other meat products amidst the increasing incidence of the swine and hog disease in some provinces outside the region.”

He said the checkpoints would not allow the transport of live animals, meat products and meat by-products into the city unless accompanied by Veterinary Health Certificate (VHC) and a shipping permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

To prevent and control the disease backyard raiser in the city’s 70 villages were advised to temporarily ban swill feeding of their hogs.

All meat and meat by-products without Meat Inspection Certificate (MIC being sold in all public market, supermarkets, and groceries would be confiscated and considered as “hot meat,” he warned.