Indonesia could not afford mass slaughter of chickens

INDONESIA - Indonesia's president said Monday the country could not afford the mass slaughter of chickens in bird flu-infected areas, but that he hoped the World Bank would be able to fund a culling program in the future.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's remarks come ahead of a visit by a top EU health official to discuss ways to boost the country's fight against bird flu.

International experts say culling healthy birds close to the site of infected flocks is the best way to contain the spread of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.

"There is a problem with mass culling ... that is money," Yudhoyono said.

Outbreaks of H5N1 have left poultry flocks devastated across Asia since 2003 and jumped to humans, killing at least 64, with five confirmed deaths in Indonesia since July.

Tests are also being carried out on samples taken from several other people who died showing symptoms of the disease.

calendar icon 14 November 2005
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