The Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), on Friday announced that the origin of bird flu has finally been identified.
The avian flue outbreak in Pampanga and other neighboring Nueva Ecija and Bulacan tows was reportedly came from a big farm in Tarlac owned by former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III family.
Earlier, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said around 200,000 chicken, ducks and quails will be “culled” or killed within the 1-km radius of the six affected farms to prevent the spread of the Avian Influenza – which can cause illness and death to animals and humans.
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DA Sec. Manny Piñol, however, clarified that it would still be safe to eat poultry and poultry products as only a small fraction of the country’s supply was affected. He said no reports of human infection had been reported because of the outbreak.
He explained the affected chickens were “layers” or those raised for egg collection – and not for their meat for consumption.
As a precaution, he said there would be a ban on shipment of poultry from Luzon to other parts of the country.
The Department of Health (DOH) also said properly cooked chickens and poultry products remain safe to eat.
Three workers from the “Aquino farm” were invited by DA to give statement. The workers were reportedly aware that the outbreak started in their farm, but instead of reporting it to the authorities, they were told by the farm manager to throw away the infected birds to near the competitors farms, contaminating other neighboring farms.
DA said they will ask the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) if the farm owners who are relatives of the former president could be held liable.
DA is also looking into the possibility of economic sabotage as the farm is owned by Duterte’s political opponents. /Julio Matagay/