April 26, 2024


Heatwave in the Philippines threatens livestock


As temperatures soar to high levels next month in the Philippines, livestock are also affected by the looming heatwave, adversely impacting their health, productivity, and product quality, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.


Based on a study titled "Effects of Heat Stress on Animal Physiology, Metabolism, and Meat Quality: A Review" published in Science Direct and authored by Paula Gonzales-Rivas, Surinder Chauhan, Minh Ha, Narelle Fegan, Fran Dunshea, and Robyn Warner, the study highlighted the susceptibility of ruminants, swine, and poultry to heat stress due to their rapid metabolic rate and growth.


President of the Philippine Egg Board Association, Francis Uyehura, expressed concerns over the detrimental effects of extreme heat on egg production, citing a reduction in feed intake leading to smaller egg sizes.


According to a study titled "Impact of Heat Stress on Poultry Production" published by the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information, prolonged heat stress periods result in decreased feed intake, leading to significant declines in egg production.


Furthermore, heat stress impacts meat quality, with acute heat exposure prior to slaughter resulting in pale, soft, and exudative meat, while chronic heat stress leads to dark, firm, and dry meat.


As per the government's 2023 El Niño National Action Plan, extreme weather phenomena like heatwaves can cause widespread agricultural losses, affecting food production and prices.


Dr Glenn Albert Almera, founder of Pet Partner Philippines Inc, emphasised the vulnerability of animals to heat stress, urging caretakers to be vigilant for signs of distress such as increased respiration rate and loss of consciousness.


Almera underscored the importance of keeping animals hydrated, minimizing exercise during peak heat hours, and providing well-ventilated shelters to mitigate heat stress.


With the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) warning of temperatures exceeding 40°C in the coming weeks, proactive measures are crucial to safeguard both human and animal welfare from the impending heatwave.


-      Philippine Daily Inquirer

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