'Ebola-infected pigs shot if stunning fails'

by JORGE CARIÑO, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2009 01:25 PM | Updated as of Mar 03 2009 09:26 PM

PANDI, Bulacan - The number of culled pigs reached 1,237 on the second day of operation at an Ebola Reston-virus-infected farm here in Pandi, Bulacan.

Bulacan's provincial health officer, Dr. Joy Gomez, who is also the spokesperson for the depopulation committee, reported Tuesday morning that the big increase in number from 442 yesterday is due to the adjustments and lessons learned from the procedures in last Sunday's dry-run.

According to Gomez, depopulation teams started working around three in the afternoon on Monday and ended at past eight in the evening with 795 pigs culled.

Stunning, through the use of a captive bolt, is still the method used to cull the pigs.  

"Ginagamit pa din namin yung captive bolt, at pag hindi agad na-stun yung baboy, binabaril na ng 22-caliber nung taga-PNP. Kasama naman yung sa mga napagkasunduan nung pina-plano pa lang namin ito" said Gomez, in response to questions on the use of guns.

New photos and videos were also released to media showing workers unloading pigs on the pit, workers taking tissue samples on pigs' carcasses, and the actual burning of culled pigs.

At Bocaue Public Market, which is two towns away from Pandi, Bulacan, Governor Jonjon Mendoza on Tuesday checked if the contamination of Ebola Reston virus at a farm in Pandi has affected pork sales in public markets of the province.

It turned out that pork sales were at a low even before the virus contamination was publicized.

"Dati pa po mahina na, dahil sa krisis at hirap ng buhay," a vendor told the Mendoza.