Hundreds of pigs culled in Benguet due to ASF

Hundreds of pigs culled in Benguet due to ASF

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — A total of 224 pigs have been depopulated over the weekend in Barangay Beckel here and Camp 1 in Tuba town after samples were taken from piggeries tested positive for African swine fever (ASF).

Dr. Meriam Tiongan, the provincial veterinarian, said the “1-7-10” protocol was implemented to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

Tiongan said 189 pigs were culled within the one-kilometer radius of the ASF “ground zero” at Sitio Obulan in Barangay Beckel after blood samples of pigs in a backyard piggery tested positive of the virus last week.

The 35 others were culled at a commercial piggery in Camp 1 days prior to the discovery of the case in Barangay Beckel.

At least eight sitio (hamlets) in Barangay Beckel — Sapsing, Bakung, Marlboro Country, Gungel, Pagal, Central, Ulnai, and Busi — were affected from the depopulation of the 189 pigs, which was the livelihood of 31 families in the area.

She said hog raisers initially refused to depopulate the pigs but eventually gave in after explaining that culling was necessary to ensure the ASF would not spread to nearby piggeries.

“It was difficult considering that ordinary residents owned them, saving them for the tuition of their children, or were raised to be butchered for the observance of a traditional practice of offering to the gods,” Tiongan said.

Following the ASF outbreak in Luzon last year, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte approved a PHP1-billion fund to compensate hog raisers whose pigs were culled.

Under the “1-7-10” protocol, those found within the seven kilometers are subject to regular blood testing. Those pigs cannot be sold or brought out of the area.

Animals within the 10-kilometer radius but beyond the seven kilometers are subject to monitoring and owners must report the condition of the animals and inform authorities if any of the pigs get sick. Liza Agoot / PNA –