No restrictions on poultry movement, except in West Bengal

February 9th, 2008 - 10:17 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Even as India continued its culling operations, the central government Saturday issued directions to all states, except bird-flu hit West Bengal, not to impose any restrictions on the movement of poultry and poultry products.

Government also strongly refuted that the game of badminton had suffered due to a ban imposed on the import of feathers and shuttlecocks from bird-flu positive countries.

Till Saturday noon, an estimated 3.6 million birds had been slaughtered in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar.

The Animal Husbandry Department said the government has “written to all the states (other than West Bengal) not to impose any restrictions on the inter-state movement of poultry and poultry products.

No fresh case of avian influenza has been reported from the country, officials said.

About the ban imposed on the import on feathers, the officials said it has been in existence since February 2004 as the feather follicles may contain pieces of skin, meat and traces of blood while being removed from the skin during post-slaughter processing.

This could be a potential source of infection if the feathers are collected from the infected birds. Secondly, excreta of infected birds contains large amount of virus, which remains effective for at least three months,” a statement issued Saturday said.

In a poultry house, the bird feathers get soiled with excreta on the floor.

Such soiled feathers are also potential source of infection,” it said.

The process of disinfections of feather to make it safe from bird-flu perspective is an area under study at the OIE, which is the apex international body for animal health corresponding to the WHO. “Hence, it is not considered appropriate to lift the ban,” official said.

It is presumed that the concerned authorities would have made alternative arrangements to source the shuttle-cocks since the ban has been in existence for three years. However, there is no ban on the import of shuttle-cocks from a bird flu negative country at any given time.

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