Odisha govt begins culling to check bird flu; faces local opposition


Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Tuesday began culling of poultry in Keranga village and within a radius of one km in Khurdha district after some dead birds tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.

A similar outbreak was reported in the region in 2012.

Ten rapid response teams have been mobilised for the culling operation in the area. Around 2,500 chickens will be culled during the operation, officials said.

“Keranga village is the epicentre of bird flu. We have directed to go for culling of poultry within the radius of one kilometre for its containment. It’s the first time in the current season that this type of bird flu was detected,” said Fisheries & Animal Resources Development Secretary Bishnupada Sethi.

“The H5N1 is considered highly pathogenic. It can also transmit to animals and humans. The Health Department is monitoring the situation,” said Sethi.

The Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department had received report from High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal confirming the H5N1 virus on December 25.

A control room has been set up at the Directorate of Animal Husbandry to monitor the situation and to disseminate information. The district administration is also monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, some local people opposed the culling of fowls and demanded demolition of poultry farm on the outskirts of village and compensation proportional to the cost of each bird culled.

“Our village remained a disease-free zone for last 50—60 years. But, the virus came to the village since the farm was set up on the outskirts. So, the birds in the farm should be culled first. After then we will cooperate with the government officials in killing the avian creature in the village”, a resident said.

Official sources said the government would provide compensation to the poultry farmers and owners for the culling.

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