Via The Daily Star: Poultry stares death. Excerpt:
The government's negligence in tackling bird flu has driven the poultry industry to the brink of ruin as two-thirds of 150,000 farms went out of production in the last five years, sector leaders said yesterday.
The shutdown of thousands of farms cut into the production of chicken and eggs. The industry leaders now worry that Bangladesh that attained self-sufficiency in meeting domestic demand for protein such as chicken and eggs might again become import-dependent, without proper policy support.
Reduced compensation for culling bird flu-infected chickens and delayed disbursement of compensation funds forced many farmers to sell infected birds in the market, they said.
And livestock officials' reluctance to record infected chickens, and poor monitoring and surveillance by government agencies have fuelled the spread of avian influenza virus, they added.
Industry leaders shared these views at a roundtable on the poultry sector organised by The Daily Star at its office yesterday.
The surveillance of DLS (Department of Livestock) has been zero in recent period in stamping out affected birds as per government policy. They have failed because of their negligence, said Md Rafiqul Haque, secretary of World Poultry Science Association-Bangladesh Branch.
Dr MM Khan, secretary general of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association, also blamed livestock officials.
He said when farmers go to local livestock offices with avian influenza-infected chickens, officials decline to accept those as bird flu-affected. "They rather say the birds are infected by other disease," said MM Khan.
Livestock officials show reluctance to record the farms concerned as bird flu-affected because of fund constraint, he mentioned.
"This tendency of hiding is dangerous for the whole sector. The countries that hide the outbreak suffered a lot for bird flu," he said, citing the cases of Thailand, Vietnam and China.