The National, Monday 27th May 2013
By MALUM NALU
VILLAGERS in logging camps along the PNG-Indonesia border are helping worsen the spread of the Newcastle Disease by hiding birds and chickens from government officers.
The National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority’s chief veterinary officer Dr Nime Kapo said such people were in breach of the Animal Disease and Control Act.
“It is under this act that the Sandaun (West Sepik) province has been declared a disease area by the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Tommy Tomscoll, empowering us to take necessary measures to control the disease,” Kapo told The National.
“Consequently, four people have been arrested and detained to be charged at the Vanimo police station.”
Kapo said it was important to note that such trans-boundary animal diseases affected human livelihoods by way of reducing food and nutritional security, environmental destruction of iconic and culturally valuable bird species, as well as drastically affecting food supply and affecting the economy of the poultry industry.
“Such unnatural and un-Papua New Guinean practices like cockerel fighting are in fact happening and pose a direct risk to our livelihoods,” he said.
“This practice poses a grave danger in spread of Newcastle Disease, which will ultimately affect livelihoods of Papua New Guineans and must be stopped.
“The next stage of our response will be to depopulate chickens/birds/poultry within the ‘control area’ where we have confirmed infections – in Wutung and Daonda.
“Then we will have a period of about a month before we restock with test flocks of sentinel chickens.
“We will monitor these test chickens for a couple of months to see if our control and depopulation measures have successfully eradicated the disease.
“If so, then we will replace all the stock that has been depopulated for disease control.
“I am very hopeful that this will occur.”
Kapo said he had been working since April 14 with officers from the Sandaun provincial government and other stakeholders to stop the disease from spreading to neighbouring provinces
Since April 14:
- Awareness had been in the Vanimo-Wutung area, designated the “control area”, with road checkpoints at Pasi (east coast access), Bewani Road (inland access), Mushu inland access road, at the airport and sea fronts;
- Delimiting surveillance had been conducted outside the “control area” to determine the extent of the spread of infection, if any; and
- Population-based survey of the villages and wards in the “control area” had been conducted, also to determine spread.