Group seeks ‘upgrade’ of 59-yr-old livestock law

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A Partylist for marginalized farmers is pushing for the amendment of a 59-year-old law to raise incomes in the feeds and livestock industries.

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AAMBIS-Owa Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin said “updating” House Bill 5162, or the Animal Feeds Act will help organize, update, and strengthen the livestock feeds industry in the country.

“This measure will ensure that the feeds used by our farmers to nourish their livestock are safe and with high quality. This will result in higher income of farmers and good health of the consuming public,” Garin said in a statement.

She noted that the original law, RA 1556, An Act To Regulate And Control The Manufacture, Importation, Labeling, Advertising And Sale Of Livestock And Poultry Feeds, which was enacted in 1956, can no longer meet the demands of the industries’ continued growth and competition caused by liberalized trading policies.

“HB 5162 seeks to update the outdated definitions, policies, and penalties found in the original law. For example, the scope of the regulation of the animal feeds industry would no longer be limited to the importing of feeds but would also include the feeds the country is exporting to ensure quality control,” she said.

The regulation will also now include all feeds intended for terrestrial and aquatic animals.

The provisions of HB 5162, Garin said, will be synchronized with the labeling requirements of Republic Act 10611 or the Food Safety Act.

Under the proposed law, every package containing feed or feeding stuff must be labeled with type, brand, and kind of feed and feeding ingredient among other information for the benefit of end users.

The measure seeks to create an Animal Feed Control Advisory Committee under the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“This will develop and promote better licensing and registration process to ensure the quality of all feeds whether for commercial or non-commercial use,” Garin said, adding that the committee will also conduct studies and formal investigation on policy and technical matters arising from the implementation of the act.

The bill also contains provisions for stricter regulations and higher penalties for violators of the law.

“For example, tampering with packaged feeds for fraudulent purposes like willfully removing, altering, or effacing prescribed tags or labels, on packaged feeds ingredients will be dealt with imprisonment of six months to one year and a mandatory fine of half a million pesos,” the lawmaker said.

Companies that will distribute or sell expired feeds and feed ingredients will lose their license and will pay a fine of P1 million.

If passed into a law, a revolving fund called the Philippine Livestock Promotion Fund will be established.

HB 5162 is pending before the House Committee on Agriculture and Food. The bill will be tackled when Congress resumes session in May this year.

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