In a later interview however, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap declared that only one farm was reported to have the possible presence of Swine Flu and that intense monitoring and further tests are being implemented to make sure that the government will be able to act quickly should the problem becomes real
Farm owners also declared that during these times when there is a change in weather patterns, hogs have the tendency to catch common colds which can easily be remedied by administering paracetamol and lots of water. Therefore, a news of an outbreak at this point is premature.
However, there is one thing that struck me. Radio listeners who sent SMS (text) messages declared that farm owners are less likely to report Flu outbreaks and the unscrupulous of them has the tendency to sell the affected hogs at low prices.
Let us all be vigilant but not paranoid. Life goes on. Just be careful.1) I find the news quite alarming and here are a few things that I would like to say:
The Hog Industry, according to Secretary Yap, acccounts for 14% of the country's agricultural output. Therefore, a decline in sales brough about by real or imagined pestilence will have an adverse effect in the livelihood of at least 14% of our agricultural workers. That's a lot. Let us therefore be very cautious in handling this reports. Rumor mongering in this time of crisis should be discouraged.
2) Radio listeners who reported the tendency of some farmers not to report outbreaks should not be dismissed. Having lived in the Philippines for so long, we all know that there is some truth to those statements. People should therefore be vigilant and check the quality inspection certificates or seal, before buying meat.
3) The local governments should take the lead in monitoring the public markets and movement of farm animals. They are in the best position to control any possible outbreak.