Press Release
May 29, 2011


To aid the agriculture sector and help boost food safety, Senator Edgardo J. Angara has filed a bill seeking to improve the country's animal welfare industry by beefing up the present Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

Angara, former Secretary of Agriculture, said the BAI's authority has eroded throughout its 81 years of existence, providing the impetus for reform.

The BAI is a staff bureau without control over regional and local veterinary services, animal production and animal welfare. This has impaired the bureau's ability to prevent and control harmful animal diseases, as well as effectively implement national standards on animal production and welfare.

"The food animal industry faces more complex challenges with wide-ranging effects now than it did decades ago. We need to arm it to the teeth to effectively ensure public safety," Angara explained.

The Animal Industry and Veterinary Services Act of 2011, or Senate Bill No. 2839, will transform the BAI into the National Livestock and Veterinary Services Authority. The revitalized agency will have greater capability to deliver functional and efficient veterinary services that uphold sanitary measures and other safeguards for animal welfare, public health and trade competitiveness.

The agriculture sector contributed almost a fifth of the nation's gross domestic product in 2009. The livestock and poultry subsector accounted for about 26 percent to 28 percent of this.

"Certain factors continue to impede the full development of the animal industry. We have to build up our capability to detect and eliminate emerging animal diseases which may be transmissible to humans. We also have to counteract the negative effects of climate change and pervasive poverty especially in rural areas," Angara pointed out.

He continued, "A fresh mandate will allow the BAI to stand strong at the forefront of our efforts to ensure food security by promoting animal health."

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Food following the First Reading.

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