The central government has stated that one poultry bird and seven crows/migratory birds in J&K have died due to Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu.
In a written reply to a question, the Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh, has stated that one case of poultry and seven crows/migratory bird deaths were confirmed due to Avian Influenza.
Avian Influenza has been confirmed in 14 States / UTs namely Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir.
“The measures taken by Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying to prevent the spread of Bird Flu include issuing advisories and guidelines to States / UTs for prevention, surveillance, control and containment of the disease, setting up of central control room, deployment of central team to visit states for monitoring the efforts of the States, sensitization and awareness related measures,” he stated.
“Bird flu has to some extent affected the poultry meat industry due to the fear of spread of the disease through poultry meat. However, both the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO) have clarified that poultry eggs and meat are safe for human consumption as long as they are properly prepared and cooked, following good hygienic practices,” the government said.
In Kashmir, bird flu has been confirmed in five districts in crows. The government of J&K for a brief period imposed a ban on import of poultry from other states as Haryana has been the worst hit. Later the ban was lifted.
The bird flu scare has hit the poultry sector badly as the rate of chicken has fallen down to Rs 70 a kilogram. As per the poultry owners, most of the poultry farmers import day old chicks from outside and then add expenses which makes them lose their hard earned money when there are distress sales in the market.
After confirmation of these cases in Kashmir, the Union Ministry of Animal Husbandry has issued an advisory to be implemented by the J&K administration to contain the spread of this disease.
“Bio security has to be strengthened and disinfected in the entire area where the mortality of birds has been reported, to be carried out in collaboration with the Forest Department. The dead birds should be disposed of by deep burial,” the advisory reads.
“Surveillance of poultry may be intensified in the area. To prevent spread of disease in poultry and humans, earlier guidelines may be adhered to,” it said.