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Poultry farms unwilling to cull bird flu-infected birds

Several poultry farms in the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are unwilling to cull their birds infected by bird flu after facing long delays in getting the compensation money from the government.

After the detection of bird flu in farms, the government has to pay owners compensation of 75% of the cost of production of the poultry culled. During the most recent bird flu outbreak, some farmers had to cull hundreds of their birds to prevent the spread of the virus; however, the government was unable to pay them compensation on time.
Dr Rafiqul Hassan Usmani, official spokesman of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal): “Yes, there was a bit of delay in disbursement of compensation money last time. That's why some of the poultry farms, where bird flu was detected on May 23, had created some problems, but we have settled everything with them now.”
Authorities have recently culled some 18,500 birds infected with the virus in five farms located in the poultry pockets of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, however, there are over 60 farms in different poultry areas, and only their full cooperation can stop the spread of the disease.
It has been reported that some of the five farms in Chak Shahzad, in which bird flu had hit broilers, chickens and peacocks, were unwilling to cooperate with the government. They fear that the infected birds could make to the market and ultimately with consumers.
During the last bird flu crisis in Pakistan, poultry farms faced over Rs10 billion (€120 million) losses and the government was unable to compensate farmers. Later, the association developed a strategy to deal with the issue by creating artificial decrease in the production of the poultry to increase prices and regain the lost money. They said even now the authorities feared an artificial decrease in production by the association, which could increase chicken prices even amidst the news of the spread of bird flu.
 
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