PETA claims bird flu spread due to filthy condition in farms

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Agartala, May 22 (UNI) People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Mumbai, today linked bird flu in Tripura to unhygienic condition of chicken and egg farms.

This comes at a time when the state government has blamed Bangladesh for the spread of the H5N1 virus through unchecked poultry movement from across the border.

PETA officials here said besides Tripura, they had issued general warning to every state in India early this year about filthy condition in poultry farms after conducting a random survey and cautioned that it could lead to spread of the flu virus.

Tripura had recently witnessed the outbreak of avian influenza for the first time and the animal resource development department blamed neighbouring Bangladesh for the spread of the virus.

''The state was affected by the flu from Bangladesh which spread to Tripura due to the porous border and smuggling of livestock from across the border,'' said Dr A Roy Barman, Director Animal Resource Department of the state.

Meanwhile, PETA officials claimed that the state government could not blame only Bangladesh for the outbreak of the disease, as conditions in the poultry farms of Tripura were conducive to the spread of the deadly disease.

They said, ''Copies of the full 40 page report and last year's letter to the Tripura government along with Right to Information Act Application seeking information from the government on action taken on our letter and a copy of the remainder letter was sent to the Tripura government and we did not get any reply yet.'' According to the report, in 2005 approximately two billion chickens were slaughtered in India and the birds were crammed in tens of thousands of dark, filthy sheds, where the ammonia from the bird's accumulated waste actually burns their eyes.

According to experts, typically the birds' heart, legs and lung fail to keep pace with their rapidly growing bodies, which leads to congestive heart failure and ascetics and added not only chickens the egg production was equally miserable, as millions of hens spend their entire life confined to a cage in huge factories that are packed to such a condition they could not move or scratch their wings.

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