Aug 31, 2012
KOLKATA: Chicken from farms infected
with a yet-to-be identified disease in North 24-Parganas' Baduria are
being sold in markets across the city for nearly a month now. Though
owners of the infected poultry farms said they had informed the block
livestock development officer (BLDO), the latter has remained mum on the
matter following pressure from industry and politicians.
According to poultry farm owners in Baduria, the deaths began around 27
days ago from the farm of one Gulab Nabi in Kankrasuti village. It then
quickly spread to other farms there. "Within days of the first death, we
informed the BLDO but since the animal husbandry department did not
act, we are continuing to do business," said poultry farm owner Syed Md
Mijanur Rehman Gaji.
Yet, the animal husbandry department
failed to implement the protocol that it needs to take in case of a
suspected outbreak. According to the plan, officials from the veterinary
office need to immediately visit the site when there are any unnatural
deaths or when a large number of chicken die. Also, wild and migratory
birds in the area need to be monitored for at least 24 hours. The
investigating officer needs to be equipped with necessary kit to make
preliminary probe, following which a clinical investigation is to be
carried out by a disease investigation officer.
report of the investigating officer, pathological samples of at least
five diseased birds need to be sent to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
in Belgachia. Till the results come, the entire suspected farm or site
has to be cordoned off, barring movement of people, poultry, eggs or
dead carcass from the site," a veterinarian said.
norms have been flouted as business goes on as usual at Baduria despite a
disease infecting 15,000-20,000 small and medium sized poultry farms
and leaving several thousand chickens dead in August. Chicken traders
who sell the poultry in wholesale markets in the state have kept the
matter under wraps, allowing chicken from these farms to be sold at
retail points for consumption in homes and restaurants.
farm owners alleged that the deaths were hushed up following pressure
from a section of the industry and politicians. While the former feared
major losses in the event of a scare, the latter does not want the
government to be embarrassed with avian influenza or bird flu at a time
when it is battling to play down dengue that has reached endemic
proportions in Kolkata and North 24-Parganas.
At the wholesale
mart in Kolkata's New Market, over 10,000 chickens arrive from Baduria
and Basirhat daily. New Market Poultry Association member Md Shahabuddin
refused any knowledge of the deaths and brushed it off as rumour. "We
don't know about any unnatural deaths at poultry farms in Baduria. In
any case, none of the chicken appears to be sick," he said.
with deaths continuing unabated in Baduria, agitated poultry farm
owners blocked a road outside the BDO office demanding state
intervention in controlling the outbreak.
husbandry department sources said poultry in Baduria being infected by
avian influenza or bird flu was a distinct possibility. Though a dead
chicken has been analysed with a virus, department officials are mum on
the cause of the death. If bird flu is detected, poultry in the entire
region will have to be culled.