It's Words not Birds Threatening Kashmir

INDIA - Authorities’ repeated assurances that there is no bird flu in Kashmir notwithstanding, the poultry consumption in the Valley has touched its low during past few weeks.
calendar icon 31 January 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Poultry dealers here complain the worst slump in the business following the outbreak of the disease in some parts in India. “Since the day the news of the bird flu in West Bengal broke, people here have shun the poultry and its products,” President Kashmir Valley Poultry Farmers’ Association Ghulam Muhammad Bhat said. “During the last few days our sales have plummeted by 30 percent,” Bhat said, adding that even though there were no traces of the diseases in the Valley, people were expressing apprehensions.

"The virus couldn’t survive the temperature at which the poultry is cooked as per local cooking methods"
spokesman of the state animal husbandry department

Bhat said there was no logic to avoid the consumption of the poultry by the people, when the government has vehemently ruled out any bird flu in J&K.

Many dealers who spoke to this reporter said people were reluctant to buy the poultry after the news of the deadly disease in some states in India broke out. “I used to sell some 200 chickens every day but now I hardly sell around 100 chickens,” Muhammad Ashraf, a poultry dealer said, adding that the sale of the eggs has also come down during the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, experts here maintain that the poultry being imported into the Valley is healthy and fit for consumption. “The state animal husbandry department is maintaining a strict vigil on the poultry and poultry products entering into the Valley and is continuously collecting samples to check the disease,” a spokesman of the department said.

Giving details he said the department has collected few thousands of samples of the poultry as well as migratory birds and none of these were tested positive.

“There is no need to panic or avoid the consumption of poultry and eggs,” he insisted. “There was no question of the bird flu virus reaching to the Valley from the far off place like West Bengal, where the outbreak was reported. There are several states in between where the poultry has been declared safe for consumption,” he explained.

“The virus couldn’t survive the temperature at which the poultry is cooked as per local cooking methods,” he said adding that it was “word flu” not bird flu which hits the poultry the Valley.

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