The administrative order no. 19 signed recently by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has lifted all Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) related transport restrictions for swine, cattle, carabao, sheep, goats and other cloven footed animals, including their meat, meat products and other byproducts nationwide.
Livestock farmers, traders and processors can now freely transport their animals and meat products within the country, as long as appropriate permits are secured from concern agencies of the Department of Agriculture.
As a requirement, farmers and traders wanting to transport live animals should first secure a written authority or permit from the director of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) or his duly authorized representative.
The BAI will also issue a veterinary health certificate to attest that the animals are healthy and come from areas free of any outbreak or disease.
Meanwhile, meat processors and traders are required to secure a certificate of meat inspection from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) when they intend to transport meat and meat products.
According to Alcala, this is one of the favorable results of the recent recognition and declaration of the entire Philippines as free from FMD without vaccination by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organization for Animal Health, on May 26, 2011.
However, Alcala urged livestock farmers, processors and traders to remain vigilant to maintain the FMD free status of the country.
Secretary Alcala enjoins BAI veterinary quarantine officers and regional and local government veterinarians to submit a monthly report on any positive or negative disease incidence in their respective areas.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the BAI will maintain a yearly stock of at least 2,000 bottles or about 100,000 doses of FMD vaccines which could readily be used in case of resurgence.
In case of an FMD resurgence, the DA through the BAI and other concerned agencies and livestock owners should stamp out or isolate all infected animals and vaccinate other exposed susceptible animals.
The DA will also institute a ‘ring certification’ and impose strict quarantine rules within a 3 kilometer radius, depending the scale of the outbreak.
The DA and its concerned livestock agencies in partnership with livestock farmers and industry stakeholders will continue to implement an FMD monitoring and preventive plan, maintain a stock of FMD vaccines, and ensure that requirements are complied with prior to transport of animals, their meat, meat products and other byproducts.