February 5, 2008


Bangladesh culls poultry on great scale as it plans compensation for farmers


Bangladesh slaughters more poultry in a bid to combat bird flu outbreaks as it spreads on to 37 of the country's 64 districts, and the government is to increase compensation to poultry farmers in order to ease the troubled industry.


Biddyut Kumar Das, scientific officer of livestock department said bird flu was detected in 10 farms on Sunday (February 3, 2008), a finding that forced the livestock department to slaughter all the birds in the area.


Das said culling efforts in the western Kushtia district will continue, but he also admitted that the situation is not showing any signs of improvement.


The livestock department said nearly 50,000 birds had been slaughtered on Sunday (February 3, 2008), and at least 781 farmers had been given anti-viral drugs as precaution.


Due to the culling, the government has pledged compensation to poultry farmers. To encourage poultry farmers to report and cull sick birds, the government has decided to increase the amount of compensation, said an official. He added that the government is considering lifting compensation restrictions.


At present, poultry farmers will receive in between BDT 60 to 80 (US$0.87 to US$1.17) for each culled bird. However, poultry farmers have said that the compensation is inadequate. Currently, the farmers receive compensation for up to 5,000 culled birds.


Experts believe that the reason bird flu is able to keep spreading is due to the ignorance of the farmers. Officials said many farmers and backyard poultry producers continue to ignore warnings despite the government's campaign to burn or bury dead birds.


An official at a poultry zone near Dhaka said that poor monitoring by the authorities and the lack of efforts and awareness by poultry owners are what lead to the re-appearance of the bird flu in late 2007.


Bangladesh's poultry industry produces about 220 million chickens annually.

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