PETA calls for hygienic poultry farms to check bird flu

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Chandigarh, Feb 7 (UNI) Emphasising the unhygienic and filthy conditions in poultry farms, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) today urged the Punjab Government to form a stringent set of poultry regulations and norms for preventing outbreak of poultry diseases like bird flu.

"Leading health experts-including those at the United Nations-have blame the unhygienic and filthy conditions in poultry farms for the spread of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. So we urged the Punjab government to learn from the mistakes of West Bengal and take stringent measure to reform the poultry farm practices," PETA Campaigns manager NG Jayasimha said at a press conference here.

He said the PETA had conducted a five year (2002-07) investigation in various parts of the country, including Amritsar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh, and found the widespread abuse to chickens used in the layer and broiler industries as well as unhygenic and cruel conditions in slaughterhouses.

"Thousands of chickens are crammed into dark, filthy sheds so tightly that they cannot even stretch a wing. "Stress and constant rubbing against the wire cages cause hens to lose their feathers, their bodies become covered with bruises, abrasions and boils." "Poultry sold under such unhygienic conditions is a serious health hazard. Animal factories, such as broiler sheds and battery hen warehouses, virtually invite the virus to strike. Because of the intensive confinement of the animals, the deadly virus could spread like wildfire," Mr Jayasimha said.

"Outbreak of bird flu every year is a waste of public money as crores and crores are disbursed as compensation. Instead of wasting the tax payers money we can control the deadly epedimic by taking these small measures." The poultry industry and the government must ensure the immediate implementation of at least these simple welfare standards to improve the lives of the birds, he added UNI PS bp1602

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