LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Feb. 14) — Cull poultry, as the term implies, should be rejected and buried, a government agriculturist warned the public, adding this is not fit for human consumption.
An advocate of health food, Dr. Jerry Sabado, an agriculturist from the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the layer fowls are laden with antibiotics and hormones that may cause cancer and other ailments for the consumer.
Sabado, however, laments there is no law prohibiting the sale, transport and butcher of the culled chicken meat.
In many communities in the Cordillera, where pinikpikan (singed chicken) is a popular fare, layer culls and broiler culls have replaced the native chicken or duck. People here tend to prefer the culls to the chicken because it is much cheaper.
Sabado said the Cordillera is more of a consumer than a poultry producer. It receives culls from lowland chicken egg and meat farms.
He said the old layers and parent stock picked from poultry farms ought to be discarded and buried and not sold for food. “These have been treated with hormones and given excessive antibiotics that render the birds sources of unhealthy for food,” he warned.
Sabado added, antibiotics has been dumped into the country by highly industrialized nations. He said these tend to strengthen the bird’s resistance to microbes for them to stay healthy and lay eggs efficiently.
Dr. Mirriam Tiongan, veterinarian from Benguet provincial veterinarian’s office, said antibiotic residues in fowl may be withdrawn 15 days before slaughter. “But we butcher the chicken right after buying it from suppliers who may not observe the 15-day withdrawal period before the birds are disposed to retailers in the region,” she said.
Sabado maintains that culls no longer possess the nutrients found in younger birds. “Kaya nga cull iyan kasi hindi na mapakinabangan,” (That is why it is cull because it is no longer useful) he said, lamenting that businessmen still earn from their refuse.
A hen lays eggs for two and a half years before it stops, said another expert, Dr. Rey Itchon, proprietor of the Solraya Enterprises, a distributor of French the colored chicken. He said 50 years ago, chickens were left in the open to get enough sunshine and to forage on grass and small insects.
In the Cordillera, a family usually tends at least five chickens in the backyard, but the limited space especially in urban areas, has discouraged many urban dwellers to raise chickens for their own table.# Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS