THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered a temporary ban on the importation of live cattle and buffaloes, as well as their products and by-products, from Libya, Russia, South Korea and Thailand due to outbreaks of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a viral infection that could be deadly to cattle.
The DA issued Memorandum Order No. 06, signed by Secretary Francisco Laurel on February 1, 2024, which mandates the immediate suspension of processing, evaluation and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary clearances for the import of specific live cattle and buffalo, along with their products and by-products. This directive aligns with the recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health.
The order does not cover safe commodities, such as skeletal muscle meat, gelatin and collagen, tallow, hooves, and horns, from the said country, as long as the country is accredited to import them following the import terms and conditions of the Philippines.
“This Memorandum was issued to prevent the spread of LSD to the Philippines' local cattle population in countries who have an on-going and stable outbreak of LSD,” the DA said in a statement.
“Secretary Tiu Laurel ordered for the confiscation, seizure and disposal of live cattle and buffaloes as well as products and by-products coming from Libya, Russia, South Korea and Thailand of shipments that didn't comply with the memorandum,” it added.
Laurel also ordered the DA’s Veterinary Quarantine Office to undertake a more rigorous and tighter inspection of all arrivals of live cattle and buffaloes as well as products and by-products.
LSD is a cattle disease caused by a virus that is transmitted by blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes and ticks, and causes fever, nodules on the skin and may even cause death, particularly those that have had no previous exposure. The virus can cause significant production losses but can be controlled either by culling or by vaccination.
The first reported LSD outbreak was recorded in Southeast Asia in 2020 affecting Vietnam and Malaysia and later in Thailand and Laos.
No cases have been reported in the Philippines and Indonesia so far. (SunStar Philippines)