Nueva Ecija quail farmers hope bird flu will soon be contained

Quail farmers have expressed hope the reported case of bird flu in Barangay Ulaning Putik here will be contained soon as their livelihood is in peril.

This, as barangay chairman Wilfredo Hipolito, owner of the first quail farm to have been reportedly affected by bird flu, hoped that the government will extend him support for the loss of his 18,000 birds.

"Hindi na ako nagtanong dahil nangyari din noon sa iba at nagbigay naman ng tulong (I did not inquire because it also happened before to others and they gave assistance)," Hipolito said.

Last Saturday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) conducted a depopulation on Hipolito's quail farm after about 3,000 died in successive days.

"Sabi ko baka heat stroke lang. E nung nakabukasan ay marami na, libo na (I said it might only be because of heatstroke. But the following day, more died, already reaching thousands)," he said.

Glenn Lopez, 26, who tends to a 10,000-head farm of a close relative in the village, said their birds appear to be healthy to date.

He, however, expressed the belief that what happened in Hipolito's farm may also affect theirs.

"Sana po ay huwag namang magkaganun. Malaking problema pag nagkaganun (I wish it would happen to us. That is a big problem if it happens)," he said.

Early last week, eggs were sold at PHP1.25 apiece.

The price, however, is now down to PHP.85 each after the community quarantine was imposed over the National Capital Region (NCR) from where their buyers come, according to a woman who is also in the quail business.

Meanwhile, Governor Aurelio Umali immediately canceled the transport permit for all poultry products in the province following the confirmation of the Department of Agriculture of the bird flu case in this town.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in a press conference at the DA office in Quezon City on Monday, said immediate disease control measures were already set up to mitigate the spread of the avian disease.

He said that at present, a total of 12,000 head of quails were already depopulated to contain the disease from spreading.

He said that the DA’s quick response fund will be used to fight the bird flu.

Cleaning and disinfection, according to Dar, were already implemented in the affected area.

He added that surveillance around the 1-km and 7-km radius will be carried out immediately to ensure that the disease has not progressed around the perimeter.

Animal quarantine checkpoints have also been established to restrict the movement of all live domestic birds to and from the 1-km radius quarantine area, he said.

“We will ensure that the incidence will be contained effectively and swiftly to prevent the occurrence of the unfortunate outbreak a few years ago,” Dar said.

In 2017, a bird flu outbreak also occurred in Cabiao town, this province and in San Luis, Pampanga.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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