Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena yesterday advised gamefowl breeders and cockfighting aficionados to take extra precautions against bird flu contamination that would gravely affect the province’s multi-billion industry.
Those engaged in the gamefowl industry should avoid bird flu positive areas, such as China, he said, pointing out that Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is a highly infectious viral disease of birds.
Gamefowl breeders and cockfighting aficionados and members of their families who travel to bird flu positive areas, should not visit their fighting cock farms immediately upon their return to the country, he said.
They should stay away from their gamefowls for about three days, he said, to prevent the transmission of any virus they may have picked up in their travels.
Bird flu virus particles may be transferred through clothing, shoes and other belongings, Decena warned.
He also said visitors should also be kept at a distance from game fowls as a precaution.
The gamefowl population in Negros Occidental is valued at about P4 billion while materials such as feeds for their upkeep are estimated at P2 billion, he added.
Negros Occidental annually exports about 200,000 fighting cocks and if valued at an average of only P5,000 each would be P1 billion in sales, he said.
That is on top of the fighting cocks used for cockfights in Negros, he added.
Decena said his office is also keeping a close watch on areas that migratory birds visit in Negros Occidental, such as San Enrique and Himamaylan, for possible contamination of the local poultry industry.
He added that they conduct serum sampling every six months as a precaution.*CPG