Bird flu claims 10 lakh birds in last 8 years in Kerala

Photo: Mathrubhumi File

Haripad: In the last eight years, around 10 lakh birds have died due to bird flu in Alappuzha, including those killed to stop the spread of Avian influenza. Further, 98 per cent of birds that fell prey to bird flu was ducks.

Avian influenza was first reported in Alappuzha district in 2014 and returned in 2016, 2021 and 2022. According to Animal Husbandry Department, 10,10,418 birds contracted bird flu and Rs 16,89,37,665 was distributed as compensation to farmers.

Since 2014, the compensation has been fixed at Rs 200 for birds above 60 days old and Rs 100 for those below it.

However, the government temporarily halted compensation in 2022 after some farmers alleged irregularities in the distribution of compensation. Farmers pointed out that slaughtering and burying flue-infected birds is a costly affair. From 2014 to 2021, Rs 16.91 lakh was spent to bury such birds.

The central government's safety standards states that domestic birds within a radius of one kilometre from the epicentre of the disease should be killed and destroyed. According to experts, the flue is transmitted through migratory birds that visit the state, especially the paddy fields of Alappuzha.

Officials of the Animal Welfare Department suggest that the spread of the disease can be prevented if the birds suspected of being infected are removed from the flock in the first few days.

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