BANNED: FIGHTING COCK IMPORTS FROM TEXASManila, 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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