Elsha Marie Soriano
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The Pangasinan provincial government has started regulating the sale and slaughter of female carabaos to address the dwindling carabao population in the province.
Pangasinan was the first province in the country to pass and implement a regulation on the sale and slaughter of female carabao.
Gloria dela Cruz, Philippine Carabao Center director, said the number of female carabaos is diminishing in Pangasinan and in the entire country.
“Pangasinan’s carabao population comprises 60 percent of the carabao population in Region I,” de la Cruz said.
Based from the data of the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the total carabao inventory in the country has decreased by 1.62 percent from 2.93 million in 2012 to 2.88 million as of July 2013.
Records from the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office (PVO) showed that the carabao population in Pangasinan decreased by 29.5 percent from 110, 268 in 2010 to 77, 794 in 2013.
The PPC and PVO jointly conduct supervision and regular monitoring of carabao registry to address the decreasing rate of carabao and help save the carabao industry in the province.
De la Cruz said the PPC has chosen Pangasinan as point of development of the genetic improvement program (GIP) to increase its carabao population rate as the center eyes the province to be the Center of Carabao Dairy of the North.
The program includes artificial insemination and bull loan.
Dela Cruz added that the members of the two dairy cooperative in the province will undergo training and seminar on carabao raising and will be given cross bred Italian carabaos.
The regulation prescribes guidelines and procedures that will ensure continuous herd build-up as production base for the carabao-based enterprise development.
Eric Perez, officer-in-charge provincial veterinarian, said Provincial Ordinance No. 170 will provide the establishment and maintenance of provincial and municipal animal registry for carabaos, riverine buffaloes and crossbreds carabaos for carabao-based enterprise development.
Under the ordinance, an owner of a female breedable carabao shall obtain clearance from the City or Municipal Agricultural Office before the animal is sold or slaughtered.
The law also imposes a penalty on the failure to register carabaos to the Province Carabao Herd Registry (PCHR) and non-cooperation in the monitoring of status and performance of carabaos.
The agricultural office shall issue a prescribed form approved by the committee to be filled-up by the owner.
Perez said a livestock inspector will determine whether the animal is breedable or not, if so, prospective seller will be offered with a buy-back scheme within two days.
Those who fail to comply with the rules and regulations set by the ordinance will receive a reprimand from the City or Municipal Agriculture Office, Provincial Veterinarian Office (PVO) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in La Union and a one hour-orientation regarding carabao development plan.
A second offense means revocation or cancellation of license to transport livestock.
Copies of the ordinance will be distributed to all cities and municipalities of the province through a two-day caravan that will start in Western Pangasinan on February 13-14. (MCA/EMS/PIA-1, Pangasinan)