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Culling of birds: PETA steps in, objects to ‘non-adherence’ to euthanasia guidelines

PETA has also alleged that the state government authorities have failed to spread proper awareness and information about this outbreak in and around the epicentre.

Written by RITU SHARMA | Ahmedabad |
January 7, 2017 1:39:32 am
peta A three-member team from the NCDC, New Delhi, in Ahmedabad Friday. Express Photo Javed Raja

TAKING cognisance of the culling of about 1,650 birds at Asha Foundation, animal and bird shelter house in Ahmedabad’s Hathijan area, and in its one kilometre vicinity amid bird flu scare, the animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has intervened and objected to the unethical culling practice followed by the Gujarat government’s animal husbandry department.

PETA is all set to bring this to the notice of and complain to the state government authorities about the department for not following the guidelines laid down by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009. The animal rights organisation also aims to bring the same to the notice of AWBI.

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“PETA received a complaint of unethical practices being followed in the culling process. After checking from the state husbandry department, PETA has verified that. This would be brought to the notice of state government authorities, seeking appropriate action. The content has been drafted and once proofread, will be sent to authorities on Saturday,” said Dr Santosh Sahu, PETA’s veterinary policy advisor based in Delhi.

The AWBI advisory states, “The bird should first be anaesthetised with Sodium Phenobarbital, mixed with water (80 mg of Sodium Phenobarbital in 55 ml of water) four hours prior to culling operation. Once the anaesthetised birds are culled by cervical dislocation, they should be packed in bags and the disposal should be done in identified sites within the infected farm premises.”

PETA has also alleged that the state government authorities have failed to spread proper awareness and information about this outbreak in and around the epicentre. “We are also asking the animal husbandry department to adhere to Section 25 of the ‘Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009’ to euthanise the birds and declare the infected area to the public as per Section 20 of this Act,” said Dr Sahu.

While Section 25 of the Act speaks about taking “resort to euthanasia for infected animals”, Section 20 lays down the procedure for the “declaration of infected areas”. After the interim report by the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD), Bhopal, on January 2 which was further substantiated by the final report on January 4, confirming bird flu (H5N1) in guinea fowls at Asha Foundation, the animal husbandry department started culling of birds on January 3 evening.

By January 5, nearly 1,650 birds (1,500 at Asha Foundation and 150 in its vicinity) were culled by the department. These included guinea fowls, hens, ducks, turkeys, emus and other birds. Taking extra precautions ahead of Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit, the state government, in a statement released on Friday, stated that the state’s animal husbandry department offices across the state have initiated a “search and surveillance” of domestic hen, poultry farms and migratory birds in all wetlands.

Meanwhile, a three-member team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi, reached Ahmedabad Friday to take a stock of the situation. The team, along with representatives of Gujarat government, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and animal husbandry department, visited the site. The team also examined the functioning of Asha Foundation. “The team also interacted with the people in that area to take their feedback. So far, they have expressed satisfaction,” said Gujarat health commissioner J P Gupta.

Tests conducted on 350 guinea fowls

Not taking any chances ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, the animal husbandry department Friday examined the remaining around 350 guinea fowls that were recovered from Vastral and sent them to another shelter house in Memnagar.

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