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Friday, February 26, 2021

Bird flu: Experts say India must legalise vaccination than resort to culling of birds

Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday put a stay on the culling process allowed by the Haryana government citing that the Haryana government failed to pay compensation to the farm owners, on the spot, against the culled poultry birds.

Written by Saurabh Parashar | Chandigarh |
January 20, 2021 9:49:16 am
Vadodara bird flu, bird flu cases in india, avian flu in india, Dhabasa village, Animal Disease Investigation, Pune avian flu test, bird flu news, india news, indian expressThe forest department and the animal husbandry department of the Vadodara administration found carcasses of 19 native white ibis near a pond in Dhabasa village in Padra taluka on Thursday, setting off fears of Avian flu again.(Representational)

Poultry experts maintained that vaccination for curing some strains of bird flu, including H5N8, which was detected among Barwala poultry birds, is available in many countries and will be a better option than culling the birds. They stressed that the central government must allow these vaccinations to be used in India, instead of adopting the concept of culling the birds.

Sources said that the vaccines are being smuggled from other countries to India, to be used illegally.

SK Khanna, a retired poultry development officer of Haryana, said, “Vaccination of avian influenza (H5N8) is very much available. Countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Vietnam have developed vaccinations for certain strains. These countries preferred to use vaccination instead of culling. India follows the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which allows culling. But the concept of culling suits developed and rich countries. A country like India should follow the concept of vaccination.” H5N8 strain does not transmit from bird to human. It only transmits bird to bird.

Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday put a stay on the culling process allowed by the Haryana government citing that the Haryana government failed to pay compensation to the farm owners, on the spot, against the culled poultry birds. In case of culling, the state is bound to pay compensation on the spot to the farmers under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009.

Darshan Singla, President of Haryana Poultry Farm Association, said, “Before approaching the high court, we urged the state government to compensate the affected poultry farm owners before culling their birds. Why are we not allowed to use the vaccinations available in the international market?” Though Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department claimed that around 4.20 lakh poultry birds have died due to avian influenza in Barwala poultry belt, a section of poultry farm owners claimed that around 40 lakh poultry birds have died since December 5, 2020. The state animal husbandry and dairying department invited criticism when the samples of dead birds were found insufficient for ascertaining the reasons behind the death of birds at Regional Diseases Diagnosis Laboratory (RDDL) in Jalandhar.

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