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OVERCROWDING, NOT ASF, LED TO HOG DEATHS
By: Mylen Manto | Published Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (PVO) clarified that the eight dead pigs recorded in Mandaue City on June 24 were due to overcrowding during transport, and not from the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus. 

Dr. Mary Rose Vincoy said Cebu Province remains ASF-free, contrary to insinuations from swine producers in Luzon and Mindanao that eight out of 130 heads transported from La Libertad, Negros Oriental to a slaughterhouse in Mandaue City died due to ASF. 

“Kadtong balita last week nga naay namatay nga eight ka baboy, ang unang naka handle niana kay City Veterinary Office sa Mandaue. Upon investigation, namatay ang mga baboy due to overcrowding during transport. Usually, ang cause ana kay heat stroke, cardiac arrest,” the provincial veterinarian explained.

“They also found out that kanang sidings sa truck wala na open so poor ventilation. Unya init sad ang movement,” she added. 

Vincoy disclosed that even with the community quarantine status in place, PVO and the ASF Task Force created by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia continued to monitor and conduct surveillance on pork, pork-related products and live hogs sold at supermarkets.

The entry of pork products and live hogs in Cebu seaport is also monitored to secure the P11-billion hog industry in the province from the deadly swine virus. 

“Ang ako lang, we’re making statements kay there are some insinuations coming from the swine producers sa Luzon and Mindanao nga there is African Swine Fever sa Cebu. Until now, Cebu is ASF-free zone. We don’t have cases,” Vincoy stated. 

Because of the deaths of the eight pigs, Vincoy said the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 is now investigating if there is possible violation of Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998. 

RA 8485 provides that any form of cruelty shall be penalized even if the transporter has obtained a permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry. Cruelty in transporting includes overcrowding, placing of animals in the trunks or under the hood of vehicles.    

Vincoy already informed the Provincial Veterinarian Office of Negros Oriental because truckers or shippers transporting pigs beyond the truck’s capacity also happened in the past. 

She emphasized that protocols must be followed when transporting live hogs. However, sometimes these are not strictly followed.  

“Sometimes dili na ma-follow sa truckers and shippers. Diha mamatay ang live animals. So, we are not only talking of baboy here, even other animals ha,” she said.

Vincoy said to avoid stress in the movements of live animals, these must be done early in the morning, late in the afternoon, and evening. 

Meanwhile, after receiving a call from Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, the City Veterinarian’s Office immediately buried the dead pigs to avoid the possibility of selling it at a lower price or be given away to residents near the area. (Mylen Manto)