EditorialThe ASF dilemma

The ASF dilemma

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To cull or not to cull. That is the question bogging hog growers in Negros Oriental and the other provinces where cases of the African Swine Flu are affecting thousands of pigs.
The virus spreads quickly, largely in part by weak biosecurity measures of backyard pig growers.

In Negros Oriental, cases of ASF have been reported in the towns of Dauin and Sibulan, resulting in the culling of over 350 pigs.

The number grows every day, and even healthy pigs are culled simply because they are located within 500 meters from an ASF-infected pig.

The culling of ASF-infected and healthy pigs within a 500-meter radius is a practice endorsed by international groups, and the Philippines is simply following the protocol, much like our practice at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a result of this culling practice, pig growers are losing millions of pesos across the country. The hog industry, after all, is a P260 billion industry in the Philippines.

Some pig growers, especially the organized ones in Cebu, have criticized the practice of culling as it also involves the culling of healthy pigs within the 500-meter radius.

And there is also no guarantee that the virus will be eliminated, despite pronouncements by international agencies that culling is the only practice that could eliminate the virus.
The fears are actually founded on the fact that most pigs are uninsured.

Uninsured pigs mean a 100 percent loss on the part of the pig raiser. These pigs have been raised for months in preparation for a birthday, a fiesta celebration, or to augment the family’s income. Uninsured pigs mean a 100 percent loss on the part of the pig raiser, and their objections to culling stand to reason.

This is a great challenge to our provincial leadership to come to the aid of pig growers at this time.

If it is too late for insurance corporations to compensate the pig growers for their losses, perhaps the Provincial government could come to the rescue to conceptualize a program of swine distribution to farmers after this crisis is over.

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