BANNED: FIGHTING COCK IMPORTS FROM TEXAS

Manila, May 27, 2003  Filipino cockfighting aficionados will have to make 
do with local cocks for a while.

The Department of Agriculture has temporarily banned the importation of 
domestic and wild birds and related products from the United States, 
specifically Texas, because of an outbreak of Newcastle disease.

Celestino Martinez Jr., acting head of the department, ordered the Bureau 
of Animal Industry to issue the guidelines on the temporary ban.

Martinez said there was a need to stop the entry of the Newcastle bird 
disease to protect the health of the local poultry population.

Martinez's order bans the importation of wild and domestic birds, including 
chickens, chicken meat, day-old chicks, eggs and bird semen coming from 
Texas. The order also suspends the processing and issuance of veterinary 
clearances and import permits of cockfighting roosters from that state.

All veterinary quarantine inspectors have been directed to confiscate all 
affected shipments from Texas to protect the local poultry industry.

The acting agriculture chief said the US Department of Agriculture on April 
10 confirmed that there was an outbreak of Newcastle disease in Texas.

Agriculture officials said the ban will only affect importers of 
cockfighting roosters. An average of 2,000 fighting cocks are brought to 
the country from the US, 70 percent of which come from Texas.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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