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Coronavirus scare hits poultry industry, birds culled in Karnataka


Bengaluru, Mar 28: The coronavirus scare has taken a toll on the poultry industry in Karnataka with many poultry farm owners culling the birds, insiders in the poultry industry said. At least one lakh birds have been culled in the last one week, the sources said. Ever since the news spread about novel coronavirus spreading rapidly, the poultry industry started feeling the heat.

Coronavirus scare hits poultry industry, birds culled in Karnataka

The lockdown spelt further trouble for the industry with reduced business compelling farm owners to go in for the culling. According to Muddukrishna of C N Nischchith Enterprises, a live chicken dealer in Bengaluru, the culling had taken place in Shivamogga, Kolar and other places.

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"There is a drastic decline in business. There are neither customers nor enough supply of birds for sale. We are badly hit. There are many poultry farm owners who have incurred tremendous loss due to the lockdown," Muddukrishna told PTI. Another major poultry industry owner, having his farms in Channapatna, Ramanagar, Anekal and surrounding places, said he had to get rid of at least 4,000 birds in each of these farms.

"This is not restricted to me alone. There are about 64 major poultry industries who have gone for the drastic measure of culling," said the farm owner. He said in the last one week, at least one lakh birds have been culled as it was hard for them to maintain them.

"Each bird needs at least a kilogram of grains in three days to eat whereas each kg of poultry food costs about Rs 32. We have about two lakh birds in our farm. How can we maintain if there is no business," rued the poultry farm owner. The industry has suffered a double whammy. People gave up eating chicken following rumours that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is similar to SARS, another virus. Further, the lockdown has blocked the transportation of these birds, he added.

According to the farm owner, in the last one month, he had suffered a loss of around Rs 15 lakh and if the situation continues for the next three months, his condition would be beyond imagination.

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Muddukrishna said the poultry farm association had given a memorandum to the animal husbandry and fisheries department seeking direction on the transportation of these birds.

Accordingly, the secretary in the department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries A B Ibrahim issued a circular to all the city police commissioners, deputy commissioners of the district, superintendent of police and the CEO of Zilla Panchayath on Friday that the animal husbandry services have been declared as essential services.

Ibrahim said in his circular that the production of chicken birds, sheep, goat, pigs, etc in the farm and their transportation, manufacturing feed, liquid nitrogen meant for veterinary use and other items related to the Animal Husbandry should be permitted.

"Despite the order, our vehicles are stopped and drivers are harassed," alleged Muddukrishna.

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