Bird-Flu “Cull” in India, destroys Livelihoods.

The virus recently detected in Manipur, North East India, is one of the most worrisome H5N1 strains, which can in rare cases, infect and kill humans, usually those who spend a lot of time around infected birds.

It is understandable therefore, that the State Government has ordered a strict quarantine zone around the infected area.

The authorities have decided to destroy all chickens and eggs within the said quarantine zone.

Health workers have already killed around 25,000 chickens and destroyed thousands more eggs since Thursday to try and contain the virus. They plan to cull 150,000 in all within the quarantine zone by next week.

That is I suppose again the right thing to do, from the point of view of the Government.

For the local farmers though, who are going to lose all of their poultry stock, this is nothing short of disastorous.

It is almost impossible for the western mind, to imagine the kind of poverty that exists in these rural areas.

In most cases, the live stock is the only source of income for these very very poor farmers.

The state government has said it will give farmers 40 rupees (about 60 Cents) for every one of their chickens it has to cull.

However, such declarations by the Government, of compensation for the culling of any live stock, are no comfort for the poor farmers who regularly deal with the official red tape, bureaucracy and corruption.

No wonder that unhappy at the thought of their livelihood being destroyed, some poultry farmers have been trying to escape with their flocks before the “culling party” arrives.

More than a dozen farmers have so far been detained in local police stations until Saturday evening, by which time their flock will be dead, police said.

I dare say some of the fleeing farmers may have escaped capture!

Not sure where my sympathies lie in this case!!!

Here is a link to the news item from Reuters:

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/DEL157119.htm
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