Culling of hens begins in Parbhani after Avian influenza outbreak
Following the outbreak of Avian influenza, commonly-known as bird flu in the Parbhani district of Maharashtra, the state animal husbandry department has issued instructions for the culling of 6,000 birds.
The culling will be completed in two days and all the birds in one-kilometre radius of the farm where the hens were found dead on Saturday will be destroyed, according to an official.
Additional commissioner of Maharashtra animal husbandry department DD Parkale said, “The bird culling has started in Parbhani. It was a small poultry owned by a farmer where the hens were found dead. The birds in the one-kilometre radius of this poultry will also be destroyed. Orders have also been issued to seize that farm immediately to stop the spread of bird flu.”
Following the deaths of hens, district collector Deepak Mugalikar had declared Murumba village in Parbhani as a prohibitory zone, banning the sale of poultry product in a five-kilometre radius.
The teams from the animal husbandry department then collected samples of the dead birds and sent them to a laboratory in Bhopal and Pune to ascertain the cause of death.
Parkale said, “As per the recent census, Maharashtra has a total of 7.42 crore hens. The commercial poultry has around 5 crore birds and the rest are either in small poultry or with farmers.”
The bird flu outbreak has already been confirmed in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier, the bird flu was only found in crows, parrots in Mumbai and parts of Konkan region. However, in recent years hens have contracted it, which according to officials is more worrying as the birds are consumed by people, said an official from the animal husbandry department.
Parkale said, “We have started the surveillance in Mumbai and Konkan region and instructed all the departments, mainly from irrigation and forest, to report the deaths of birds they found in their premises.”
Venky’s general manager PG Pedgaonkar said, “It is natural that whenever there is news about bird flu, it creates panic among poultry farmers affecting the demand and pricing. However, the poultry farmers take enough care of their farms and do not allow outsiders to enter in to avoid contact.”
Maharashtra animal husbandry department officials said, “An appeal has been made to avoid visiting the poultry farm where the bird flu was found, other farmers and some poultry owners visit such farms and become a source to spread bird flu among birds.”