Coronavirus scare: Dahanu farmer culls 1.75L birds, destroys 9L eggs

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Published on Mar 11, 2020 12:00 AM IST
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ByRam Parmar, Palghar

A Dahanu poultry farmer has destroyed 5.8 crore worth poultry products, which included 1.75 lakh one-day-old birds and 9 lakh hatchery eggs, following rumours that drove customers not to purchase poultry due to Covid-19.

Dr Suresh Bhatlekar, owner of around 35 poultry farms and three hatcheries in Sanjan in Gujarat, Virar, and Dahanu buried the birds and eggs in multiple pits on his Ganjad farm in Dahanu on Monday after false information spread on social media led to a drop in sales. “Due to the losses, my labourers have no work as I have stopped production,” said Bhatlekar.

Since coronavirus news broke, the poultry business has been drastically affected as rumours circled on social media, that eating white meat was the cause of the outbreak. “I decided to cull 1.75 lakh day-old birds and destroy 9 lakh hatching eggs worth 5.8 crore,” he said.

The Poultry Breeding Association, Pune, had registered a complaint with the cyber cell, Pune, against a man from Midnapore, West Bengal, who was spreading such rumours on social media. Pune city police will arrest him shortly.

The animal husbandry department has also issued statements in the media clarifying that eating poultry will not result in coronavirus. “Dr Ajit Ranade, dean, Bombay Veterinary College, Parel, has vouched to this effect but people are avoiding white meat and eggs. We in the poultry business are facing a crisis now,” said Bhatlerkar.

During the last bird flu (avian flu) outbreak in 2006, the state government had compensated poultry farmers with 20 per bird. “We pray that the animal husbandry department will help us in this crisis by giving us compensation,” he said.

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