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Overcrowding, not bird flu, killed ducks and fowls

By: Ali G. Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – Experts of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DF) have affirmed that the sudden deaths of ducks and cockfighting fowls in Butuan City were due to poor sanitation and handling, not avian flu as earlier feared.

In a statement last Tuesday, DAF Secretary Manny Piñol dismissed related published stories as “wrong information,” citing findings by investigators of the BAI’s Regional Animal Disease Detection Laboratory (RADDL) in Region 13.

Piñol said RDDL experts sent by Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, BAI focal person for Avian Influenza, discovered that duck and cockfighting fowls farms “were overcrowded and there was very poor farm management, especially in maintaining cleanliness, which was identified as the immediate cause of the deaths.”

Piñol also ordered on Tuesday the lifting of the DAF’s ban on the transport of poultry and poultry products from Luzon to other parts of the country.

The ban was listed following a report from bio-security experts that the Avian Influenza cases in San Luis, Pampanga and in San Isidro and Jaen towns in Nueva Ecija have been contained in a seven-kilometer radius.