Culling of birds begins to contain Avian Influenza in Kerala

Kozhikode, Mar 8 (PTI): Authorities began culling of domesticated birds and hens near here on Sunday, as part of the Kerala governments precautionary measures following the outbreak of bird flu, officials said.

The health authorities culled birds within a one-km raidus of two poultry farms at nearby Vengeri and Kodiyathoor where the outbreak was reported last week.

Nearly 200 trained staff and support members in as many as 25 rapid response squads of five each are in the process of culling an estimated 12,000 birds mostly chicken besides turkey and love birds.

The officials in protective gear are engaged in the culling operation. The carcasses are also being burnt.

'The process of culling and disinfection is likely to extend for two more days. As per our census, an estimated 12,000 birds will be culled in three days, said the District Animal Husbandry Officer Dr Sindhu Krishnan.

Meanwhile, the Corporation health officials seized pet birds from a street-side vendor in Thondayad near here as part of the district administration's initiative in checking the spread of the disease.

According to Corporation sources, the trader had some dead birds also. To prevent Avian Influenza from spreading, the district collector had on Saturday issued instructions to close all chicken farms, chicken and egg stalls and pet and ornamental bird shops within 10 km of the epicentre farms at Vengeri and West Kodiyathooor.

The collector Sambasiva Rao had also cautioned of stringent action against defaulters under Kerala Municipality Act.

According to sources, the owners of the birds, which are culled, would be compensated for their loss.

The state health department, in association with the Animal Husbandry department and the civic authorities, was involved in the exercise, officials said.