9,000 birds culled in bird-flu hit Bengal district

December 18th, 2008 - 3:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 18 (IANS) Over 9,000 poultry birds have been culled in West Bengal’s Malda district after the latest bird flu outbreak there but some villagers are resisting the move, officials said Thursday.”Veterinary workers have culled 9,373 poultry birds since Tuesday at Narhatta and Satgheria villages under the English Bazar police station in Malda,” District Magistrate Sridhar Ghosh told IANS. The district is 350 km from here.

However, Ghosh said those involved in culling are facing some resistance from villagers, who are demanding higher compensation.

“Villagers are being paid a compensation of Rs.20-50 for each fowl and duck depending on its age. But they are demanding double the prices for grown-up chickens,” Ghosh said.

According to district sources, villagers are hiding their poultry to avoid culling.

Ghosh said the state animal resources development (ARD) department revised its culling target Thursday.

“After inspecting all the poultry farms in the affected areas, the ARD authorities have increased the culling target to 20,000 from 16,000,” the DM said. A two-day mopping up operation will begin after the culling operations are over.

ARD Minister Anisur Rehman had said that two blood samples of dead poultry sent to the High Security Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Bhopal had tested positive for avian flu.

Eighteen culling teams with a total of 90 workers - wearing white protective suits, gloves and masks - Tuesday started killing and burying chickens and ducks at Narhatta and Satgheria villages in Malda.

In January, over 200,000 poultry birds were culled when avian flu was detected in several districts. An outbreak of bird flu had been detected in Malda in March and more than 50,000 birds were culled.

The disease is caused by the H5N1 virus.

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