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24, 2011 DATE

NR # 2566

Expansion of functions of veterinary officers in the provinces sought

A lawmaker has filed a measure seeking to expand the functions and duties of a veterinary officer to enable people in far-flung areas to avail of veterinary-related services. Rep. Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Anakpawis), author of House Bill 5372, stressed the need for the immediate delivery of veterinary services in remote barangays in the country where the production of farm animals is concentrated. The mandatory appointment of veterinary officer in municipal governments, with proper support, can prevent and immediately address the problem of proliferation of dreaded diseases in the countryside, Mariano said. At present, Mariano said the livestock sector in the country encounters some difficulties. For the last several years, there were outbreaks of dangerous diseases affecting agricultural animals such as brucellosis, pasterellosis, foot-and-mouth disease, smallpox, rabies, anthrax; centers of these diseases were localized and neutralized with great efforts and resources, Mariano said. Citing the study of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Mariano said from 2001 to 2010, the countrys average annual production of carabaos reached 135.82 thousand metric tons while average annual production of cattle was 249.41 thousand metric tons. At the same year, hog had an average annual production of 1,782.04 thousand metric tons and goat had 75.05 thousand metric tons, chicken with an average of 1,226.17 thousand metric tons and duck at 46.07 thousand metric tons, Mariano said. Growth trends of the various diseases of agricultural animals though create serious human health threats, providing negative effects on the economic well-being of the population. To avoid such incidents, it is necessary to establish veterinary services that would help give people hope for a future, Mariano added. Mariano said the improper or inability to treat animal diseases could affect the production of animals which, in turn, will lessen the supply of livestock and poultry products in the market to the detriment of the public. Although livestock industries have an enviable health status, there is a need to maintain effective surveillance and ensure early detection of diseases that can potentially impact on trade, public health and productivity, Mariano said. Mariano said the early detection and a rapid planned response are the key elements to effective incident management. The ways in which the animal-related issues are met bears a direct link to public health and carries significant financial implications for the country, Mariano said. (30) eag