RP FMD-Free by May; Meat Exports Readied

Article excerpt

The Philippines will be foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)-free by May next year, paving the way for the country to export its meat and meat products for the first time in its history.

This was announced recently by the Department of Agriculture (DA) after it entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify the campaign to eradicate FMD in the country.

Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo, Jr. said the move is aimed at eventually securing the declaration of the entire Philippines as FMD and vaccination-free by the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE) or the World Organization for Animal Health, enabling the country to export meat and meat products.

He stressed the intense FMD eradication campaign conducted by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the National Meat Inspection Commission (NMIC) has met strong resistance from some slaughterhouse operators, livestock traders, and meat dealers.

We are taking this step to safeguard the lives of the employees and officers of NMIC and BAI as they conduct monitoring, surveillance, and apprehension of violators of laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to the control and eradication of FMD, Lorenzo said.

FMD is a dreaded disease that affects hoofed animals such as cattle and swine. However, the FMD strain common in the country is stereotype O Cathay that adversely affects the swine industry. …