West Bengal gearing up to counter bird flu

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Bird Flu
Siliguri (WB), Mar 1: Health authorities in West Bengal on Sunday, Mar 1 said they are working in tandem with civic authorities to spread awareness about clean husbandry practices to counter bird flu.

Over 5,000 birds have been culled here so far after cases of H5N1 strain of bird flu sent to a testing lab in Bhopal turned out positive.

The authorities said they have not been able to spread 100 percent awareness among the people inspite of best efforts.

"We are trying to spread awareness, but from our experiences in the field, we find that the owners of hens are not ready to take part as their sentimentality is attached to it.

The culling team had to forcefully take the hens. We are taking the help of civic agencies, and they are cooperating," said Kastury Sengupta, the acting sub divisional officer of Siliguri.

Voluntary organisations in the state are of the view that poor husbandry practices are responsible for a recurrence of the virus. "Repeated outbreak of bird flu is to be attributed to bad husbandry practices in poultry farms across the country. We have a 40-page report that's an investigation report which tells how bad husbandry practices, how filth in the farms, how conditions that are badly maintained in the farms which are responsible for the outbreak of bird flu," said Nikunj Sharma, the chief of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The officials have also put a ban on the buying and selling of hens or other poultry products within a span of three kilometers.

Bird flu first broke out in India in 2006. Millions of chicken and ducks have been culled since to contain the virus.

ANI

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