• Tambuyog Development Center launches farmed shrimp welfare campaign

    CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga A farmed shrimp welfare campaign was launched virtually on Thursday by the Tambuyog Development Center. Dinna Umengan, executive director of the said center, pointed out that “shrimp are animals. Animal welfare concern is an integral component of responsible and sustainable aquaculture.” The campaign launch highlighted the issue of animal welfare concern in the country, particularly in the field of farmed aquatic animals. One of the guest speakers was Wilfredo Cruz, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Central Luzon director, who confirmed that the region is one of the country's major shrimp producer. Central Luzon is also one of the country's top producers of milkfish and tilapia. He pointed out during the campaign launch that “strengthening of the good aquaculture practices, including the welfare of aquaculture species by focusing on the health and environment of farmed shrimp, would result in higher productivity; with safe and quality seafood for everyone." On the otherhand. Umengan said the campaign launch highlighted the issue of animal welfare concern in the country, particularly in the field of farmed aquatic animals. She pointed out that “Although aquatic animal health and food safety issues of aquaculture have been subjected to certification and international compliance in international trade for years, aspects of animal welfare have not been adequately subjected to compliance or certification as part of the standards for Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP)." Another speaker, Vince Cinches who is an International Campaign Manager for Animals in Farming at World Animal Protection, noted that “Every year, roughly 100 billion aquatic animals are farmed and another two to three trillion are caught at sea, and this number is continually increasing, highlighting the responsibility of governments and businesses to put in place policies and criteria to guarantee the welfare of farmed animals. It was ecplained that shrimps and other aquatic animals are sentient, meaning it can feel pain and experience pleasure, and as such deserves the needed standards to protect their welfare. As such, Tambuyog Development Center in partnership with World Animal Protection’s Southeast Asia programme called “Investing in Others,” has established thr farm animal welfare as a priority with governments and key businesses, emphasizing that it is crucial not just for animals, but the people and planet as well.” Ernesto Morales, Tambuyog aquaculture expert, saif that, “while social protection or stakeholders’ concerns are being addressed, the welfare of the animal itself, and its considerable economic contribution has largely been relegated to the background. This has resulted in looking at shrimp essentially as products and not as animals. Overstocking is rampant, disease control, minimal, predation control almost non-existent and factored in as simple mortality. Often, only expensive spawners are given special treatment, while the marketable-sized shrimp are often condemned at harvest to a cold, frigid death, or death to exposure to heat on drained fishpond bottoms.” Tambuyog is urging the government and shrimp aquaculture growers to begin awareness-building among stakeholders in the industry. In its recent policy study, it was found out that animal welfare concerning aquatic animals are not well articulated in the provisions in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Animal Welfare Act or Republic Act 10631, nor in the existing Philippine National Standards for farmed shrimp